Feeding biology of the giant clingfish Chorisochismus dentex – implications for limpet populations
The behaviour of the giant clingfish, Chorisochismus dentex, feeding on limpets was investigated in the laboratory and in the field. Prey size and species preference were determined in captivity, and compared with observations of stomach contents obtained from fishes in the field. Eleven captive clingfish (8–108 g) ate limpets of a wide size range, although the modal size selected increased with fish size. Prey species selection was investigated in the laboratory, where six fishes were offered all pair-wise combinations of seven limpet species consumed in the field. Laboratory experiments suggested selection in favour of smoother-shelled species, although gut contents from 72 fishes collected in the field indicated that diet was affected more by prey availability. Daily limpet flesh consumption was estimated to be 2.75 % (±0.47) of clingfish body weight for a size range of captive fishes.
Key words: fish predation, limpet consumption, prey choice, size selection.