Prey selection by age-0 walleye pollock, Theragra chalcogramma, in nearshore waters of the Gulf of Alaska
- Cite this article as:
- Brodeur, R.D. Environmental Biology of Fishes (1998) 51: 175. doi:10.1023/A:1007455619363
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Juvenile walleye pollock, Theragra chalcogramma, is the dominant forage fish on the continental shelf of the Gulf of Alaska, yet little is known about the feeding habits of this important interval of pollock life history. The taxonomic composition and size of prey found in the stomachs of age-0 juveniles collected at three nearshore locations in the Gulf of Alaska in September 1990 were compared to the composition and size of zooplankton collected in concurrent plankton tows. The maximum length of prey consumed increased dramatically over the length range of pollock examined (58–110 mm) from approximately 7 mm to 30 mm, due mainly to the consumption of large euphausiids and chaetognaths by the bigger individuals. The maximum width of prey changed little over this size range although there was a general increase in prey width with increasing predator size. The minimum prey length and width did not change with increasing fish size. Juvenile pollock generally selected the larger prey sizes relative to what was available. Juvenile pollock showed a marked preference for adult euphausiids and decapod larvae and an avoidance of copepods and chaetognaths relative to the numbers collected in net tows. These results are discussed relative to the feeding ecology of these juvenile fishes.