, Volume 92, Issue 4, pp 563-574

Food habits and intestinal parasites of deep demersal fishes from the upper continental slope east of Newfoundland, northwest Atlantic Ocean

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Abstract

Stomach contents and intestinal parasite faunas of 471 individuals of demersal fishes in 14 species were examined from the Carson Canyon region (Lat. 45°30′N; Long. 48°40′W) of the upper continental slope of the Grand Banks off Newfoundland, Canada. Individual species tended to feed either on benthic or on pelagic/benthopelagic organisms, but pelagic prey assumed the greatest importance overall. Data from stomach contents were supported by the parasite information. Prevalence of parasites was higher in benthic feeders (53.1%) than in pelagic feeders (28.9%), and relative abundance by major group was: Digenetic Trematoda 5.8% benthic vs 27.8% pelagic, Nematoda 53.1% vs 72.2%, and Acanthocephala 40.9% vs 0%. Of the dominant fishes, there were more species of benthic feeders (5) than pelagic feeders (3), but pelagic feeders were numerically more abundant (pelagic 70.9%, benthic 20.5%). Benthic feeders were on average larger (=270.6g) than pelagic ones (=130.6g), but pelagic feeders represented a larger proportion of the biomass (pelagic 43.3%, benthic 25.9%). The results of this study combined with those from other areas suggest that feeding from the pelagial by demersal fishes at upper continental slope depths is probably the general rule.

Communicated by R. W. Doyle, Halifax