Marine Biology

, Volume 66, Issue 3, pp 307–310 | Cite as

The importance of an infrequently flooded intertidal marsh surface as an energy source for the mummichog Fundulus heteroclitus: An experimental approach

  • S. B. Weisberg
  • V. A. Lotrich


Fundulus heteroclitus is known to ascend onto the marsh surface to feed. Our study investigated whether the marsh surface food items are a necessary source of caloric intake for the Canary Creek, Delaware, USA population of this species. Enclosure techniques were used to restrict mummichogs from the marsh surface and the growth rates of these fish were compared to those having access to the marsh surface. Growth rates were significantly higher for mummichogs allowed access to the marsh surface. Food addition and density reduction experiments showed that food availability per fish, rather than behavioral responses due to fish crowding, was responsible for the increased growth. Although food was available in the subtidal portion of the habitat, it was of insufficient quantity for fish at natural density to grow at a normal rate, and mummichogs must utilize the marsh surface for at least a portion of their energy intake.


Growth Rate Normal Rate Food Availability Energy Intake Food Item 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1982

Authors and Affiliations

  • S. B. Weisberg
    • 1
  • V. A. Lotrich
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Life and Health SciencesUniversity of DelawareNewarkUSA

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