Marine Biology

, Volume 120, Issue 4, pp 639–648

Influence of depth and season on the diet of the deep-water aristeid Aristeus antennatus along the continental slope (400 to 2300 m) in the Catalan Sea (western Mediterranean)

  • J. E. Cartes


The composition of the diet of the deep-sea aristeid shrimp Aristeus antennatus (Risso, 1816) was determined based on the analysis of 1578 stomach contents. Samples were collected using bottom trawls during 1984 to 1989 along the deep continental slope (380 to 2266 m) in the Catalan Sea (Western Mediterranea). A. antennatus displayed a high feeding activity on a large variety of endobenthic and epibenthic invertebrates, whereas benthopelagic prey were supplementary to its diet. The shrimp's diet varied mainly as a function of depth. Various preferred prey items on the middle slope (Calocaris macandreae, Cirolana borealis, Abra longicallus) disappeared from its diet below 1300 m, coinciding with the transtion boundary between different taxocenoses in the Catalan Sea. Less mobile prey and inert remains (mainly pteropods) contributed a progressively larger share of the diet of Aristeus antennatus with increasing depth. The importance of seasonality in the changes in diet decreased with increasing depth, and was relatively high only in the upper middle slope (down to 1000 m depth), where two seasonal dietary groups were detected. The most distinct seasonal changes in diet were among benthopelagic prey. The diet of A. antennatus in the submarine canyons mainly consisted of endobenthic prey (large polychaetes, ophiuroids). The higher stomach-fullness values and less diversified diet in this area were probably related to high productivity in the submarine canyons.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. E. Cartes
    • 1
  1. 1.Instituto de Ciències del Mar (CSIC)BarcelonaSpain

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