Marine Biology

, Volume 75, Issue 2–3, pp 269–278 | Cite as

Diets of the sharks and chimaeroids of the Rockall Trough, northeastern Atlantic Ocean

  • J. Mauchline
  • J. D. M. Gordon


The sharks and chimaeroids are important members of the deep-water associations of fish of the continental slopes, but little is known about their trophic interactions. The diets of these fish were studied through the deployment of demersal trawls at successive 250 m depth intervals, within a total range of depth of 500 to 2 900 m, in the Rockall Trough to the west of Scotland and Ireland during the period 1975 to 1981. The sharks and chimaeroids, however, only occurred between 500 and 2000 m but principally in the 500 to 1 250 m bathymetric zones. These are the zones of maximum biomass of prey species of fish and probably also of prey species of epibenthos. The sharks divide into 3 trophic groups. Apristurus spp., Centroscymnus crepidater, Ttmopterus spinax and E. princeps exploit micronekton in the vicinity of the sea bed. Centroscyllium fabricii, Centroscymnus coelolepis, Deania calceus and Lepidorhinus squamosus are principally fish eaters. A third group may consist of 2 rarer species in the Rockall Trough, Galeus melastomus and G. murinus that exploit the epibenthos but also, to some extent, the micronekton. The 3 species of chimaeroids (Chimaera monstrosa, Hydrolagus mirabilis and Harriotta raleighana) prey on the epibenthos and the last species may also utilize, to some extent, infaunal species.


Biomass Atlantic Ocean Rare Species Prey Species Continental Slope 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Literature cited

  1. Andriyashev, A. P.: Fishes of the northern seas of the U.S.S.R. Opred. Faune SSSR 53, 1–560 (1954). (Jerusalem: Israel Program for Scientific Translations 1964)Google Scholar
  2. Azouz, A. et C. Capape: Des relations alimentaires entre les sélaciens et le zoobenthos des côtes nord de la Tunisie. Bull. Inst. Océanogr. Pêche, Salammbô 2, 121–130 (1971)Google Scholar
  3. Bigelow, H. B. and W. C. Schroeder: Sharks. Mem. Sears Fdn mar. Res. 1, 59–546 (1948)Google Scholar
  4. Clarke, M. R. and N. Merrett: The significance of squid, whale and other remains from the stomachs of bottom living deep-sea fish. J. mar. biol. Ass. U.K. 52, 599–603 (1972)Google Scholar
  5. Gage, J. D., R. H. Lightfoot, M. Pearson and P. A. Tyler: An introduction to a sample time-series of abyssal macrobenthos: methods and principal sources of variability. Oceanol. Acta 3, 169–176 (1980)Google Scholar
  6. Hureau, J.-C. and Th. Monod (Eds): Check-list of the fishes of the north-eastern Atlantic and of the Mediterranean, Vol. 1, 683 pp; Vol. 2, 394 pp. Paris: U.N.E.S.C.O. 1979Google Scholar
  7. Krefft, G.: German observations on rare fish in 1965. Annls biol., Copenh. 22, 183–186 (1967)Google Scholar
  8. Macpherson, E.: Food and feeding of Chimaera monstrosa Linneaus, 1758 in the western Mediterranean. J. Cons. int. Explor. Mer 39, 26–29 (1980a)Google Scholar
  9. Macpherson, E.: Regimen alimentaire de Galeus melastomus Rafinesque, 1810, Etmopterus spinax (L., 1758) et Scymnorhinus licha (Bonnaterre, 1788) en Mediterranée occidentale. Vie Milieu 30, 139–148 (1980b)Google Scholar
  10. MacPherson, E.: Resource partitioning in a Mediterranean demersal fish community. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. 4, 183–193 (1981)Google Scholar
  11. Marshall, N. B. and N. R. Merrett: The existence of a benthopelagic fauna in the deep sea. Deep-Sea Res. (Suppl.), 483–497 (1977)Google Scholar
  12. Matallanas, J.: Feeding habits of Scymnorhinus licha in Catalan waters. J. Fish Biol. 20, 155–163 (1982)Google Scholar
  13. Mattson, S.: The food of Galeus melastomus, Gadiculus argenteus thori, Trisopterus esmarkii, Rhinonemus cimbrius and Glyptocephalus cynoglossus (Pisces) caught during the day with shrimp trawl in a west Norwegian fjord. Sarsia 66, 109–127 (1981)Google Scholar
  14. Roberts, D. G.: Marine geology of the Rockall plateau and trough. Phil. Trans. R. Soc. (Ser A) 278, 447–509 (1975)Google Scholar
  15. Scott, T.: On the food of the halibut, with notes on the food of Scorpaena, Phycis blennoides, the garpike and Chimaera monstrosa. Scient. Invest. Fishery Bd Scotl. 1909 (28), 24–37 (1911)Google Scholar
  16. Sedberry, G. R. and J. A. Musick: Feeding strategies of some demersal fishes of the continental slope and rise off the mid-Atlantic coast of the USA. Mar. Biol. 44, 357–375 (1978)Google Scholar
  17. Thomas, H. J.: The white fish communities associated with Nephrops norvegicus (L.) and the by-catch of white fish in the Norway lobster fishery, together with notes on Norway lobster predators. Rapp. P.-v. Réun. Cons. perm. int. Explor. Mer 156, 155–160 (1965)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. Mauchline
    • 1
  • J. D. M. Gordon
    • 1
  1. 1.Dunstaffnage Marine Research LaboratoryObanScotland

Personalised recommendations