Food habits and intestinal parasites of deep demersal fishes from the upper continental slope east of Newfoundland, northwest Atlantic Ocean
- Cite this article as:
- Houston, K.A. & Haedrich, R.L. Mar. Biol. (1986) 92: 563. doi:10.1007/BF00392516
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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.