Marine Biology

, Volume 123, Issue 2, pp 219–233 | Cite as

Diets of the demersal fishes on the shelf off Iwate, northern Japan

  • T. Fuita
  • D. Kitagawa
  • Y. Okuyama
  • Y. Ishito
  • T. Inada
  • Y. Jin


Diets of demersal fishes were determined on the shelf (ca. 130 m deep) off Iwate, Japan. Samples were taken in three different types of habitat, an artificial reef (AR) site, a natural reef (NR) site, and sandymud bottom (SB) site, from May 1987 to September 1991, mostly every two months. A total of 67 prey items were recognized in the stomachs of 45 predator fish species. The most important preys were the pelagic fishes Sardinops melanostictus and Engraulis japonicus, which comprised 37% wet wt of the overall stomach contents. The percentage of pelagic fishes was highest at AR site, where fish density was highest. The dominant ten species could be divided into five feeding types. The pelagic fish feeders Physiculus maximowiczi and Gadus macrocephalus fed mainly on S. melanostictus. The dietary breadth of P. maximowiczi was wide, while that of Gadus macrocephalus was narrow. The pelagic crustacean feeder Theragra chalcogramma mostly consumed Themisto japonica and euphausiids and showed the least dietary overlap with other fishes. Benthic fish feeders were Hemitripterus villosus and Liparis tanakai. The benthic crustacean feeders Alcichthys alcicornis and Hexagrammos otakii consumed benthic crustaceans as well as pelagic and benthic fishes and showed the largest dietary breadth. The benthic invertebrate feeders Gymnocanthus intermedius, Dexistes rikuzenius and Tanakius kitaharai fed mainly on polychaetes and benthic crustaceans. But Gymnocanthus intermedius consumed a significant proportion of pelagic fishes. Ontogenetic dietary shift was recognized for these fishes. Pelagic fishes were consumed more intensively by larger individuals, especially true of A. alcicornis, Theragra chalcogramma and Gadus macrocephalus. Predominancy of the two most adundant species, P. maximowiczi and A. alcicornis, may be supported by their wide dietary breadth and the significant proportion of pelagic fish in their diets. Interspecific dietary overlap was low in most cases suggesting that food resources were well partitioned, although some high overlap was observed among the pelagic fish feeders, A. alcicornis, and Gymnocanthus intermedius, and among the benthic invertebrate feeders. Interspecific competition seemed more likely in the benthic invertebrate feeders than in the pelagic fish feeders partly because of superabundance of the pelagic prey S. melanostictus.


Polychaete Pelagic Fish Artificial Reef Demersal Fish Benthic Fish 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • T. Fuita
    • 1
  • D. Kitagawa
    • 2
  • Y. Okuyama
    • 3
  • Y. Ishito
    • 4
  • T. Inada
    • 4
  • Y. Jin
    • 5
  1. 1.National Science MuseumTokyoJapan
  2. 2.Tohoku National Fisheries Research InstituteShiogamaJapan
  3. 3.Miyako Regional Development Bureau of Iwate Prefectural GovernmentMiyakoJapan
  4. 4.Tohoku National Fisheries Research InstituteSame, HachinoheJapan
  5. 5.Iwate Fisheries Technology CenterKamaishiJapan

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