Marine Biology

, Volume 150, Issue 6, pp 1313–1320 | Cite as

Feeding habits of the Madeira rockfish Scorpaena maderensis from central Mediterranean Sea

  • G. La MesaEmail author
  • M. La Mesa
  • P. Tomassetti
Research Article


In order to assess diet composition and niche breadth of this species, we analysed the stomach content of 182 specimens collected monthly along the eastern coast of Sicily (Central Mediterranean Sea). Overall, 50 prey taxa belonging to five major groups (algae, gastropods, crustaceans, polychaetes, fishes) were identified in 102 full stomachs. Benthic or epibenthic crustaceans, such as decapods, amphipods and isopods were the most important prey, whereas algae, gastropods, polychaetes and fishes were only occasionally ingested. In terms of composition by species, the diet of Scorpaena maderensis was characterized by a variety of rare or unimportant prey, which was consumed by few individuals only, although sometimes in large amount. As a result, S. maderensis can be considered a generalized and opportunistic feeder. The feeding intensity followed roughly a seasonal trend, with a minimum food intake in summer. The individual fish size was the most important factor affecting diet. According to the observed ontogenetic shift, small-sized individuals fed primarily on small crustaceans (i.e. amphipods and isopods), whereas large-sized specimens consumed preferably bigger and more vagile prey, such as walking and swimming decapods. No significant differences in diet were observed in relation to sex of predator and sampling season.


Polychaete Prey Type Prey Taxon Prey Category Wiener Diversity Index 
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.



We appreciated the two anonymous referees for helpful criticism. We are also indebted to Dr L. Lattanzi for her valuable support in taxonomic identification of prey.


  1. Amundsen PA, Gabler HM, Staldvik FJ (1996) A new approach to graphical analysis of feeding strategy from stomach contents data—modification of the Costello (1990) method. J Fish Biol 48:607–614Google Scholar
  2. Anhelt H (1983) First record of Scorpaena maderensis Val. 1833 (Pisces, Scorpaenidae) for Crete and Rhodes (Greece) and description of the till now unique specimen for the Adriatic. Ann Naturhist Mus Wien 85b:9–11Google Scholar
  3. Arculeo M, Froglia C, Riggio S (1993) Food partitioning between Serranus scriba and Scorpaena porcus (Perciformes) on the infralittoral ground of the south Tyrrhenian Sea. Cybium 17:251–258Google Scholar
  4. Bell JD, Harmelin-Vivien ML (1983) Fish fauna of French Mediterranean Posidonia oceanica seagrass meadows. 2-Feeding habits. Téthys 11:1–14Google Scholar
  5. Bini G (1968) Atlante dei pesci delle coste italiane. Mondo Sommerso, RomaGoogle Scholar
  6. Boutière H (1958) Les Scorpaenidés des eaux marocaines. Trav Inst Scient chérif, Ser Zool 15:1–83Google Scholar
  7. Bradai MN, Bouain A (1990) Feeding pattern of Scorpaena porcus and S. scrofa (Teleostei, Scorpaenidae) from Gulf of Gabes, Tunisia. Cybium 14:207–216Google Scholar
  8. Cadenat L (1943) Les Scorpaenidae de l’Atlantique et de la Méditerranée. Première note: le genre Scorpaena. Rev Trav Inst Peches Marit 13:525–563Google Scholar
  9. Carpentieri P, Colloca F, Belluscio A, Ardizzone GD (2001) Preliminary notes on feeding habits of Scorpaena porcus (Linnaeus, 1758) in the Central Tyrrhenian Sea. Biol Mar Medit 8:699–703Google Scholar
  10. Clarke KR, Gorley RN (2001) PRIMER v5: user manual/tutorial. PRIMER-E, Plymouth Marine LaboratoryGoogle Scholar
  11. Clarke KR, Warwick RM (1994) Change in marine communities: an approach to statistical analysis and interpretation. Natural Environment Research Council, UK, 144 ppGoogle Scholar
  12. Colwell RK, Futuyma DJ (1971) On the measurement of niche breadth and niche overlap. Ecology 52:567–576CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Costello MJ (1990) Predator feeding strategy and prey importance: a new graphical analysis. J Fish Biol 36:261–263CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Economidis PS, Daoulas HK (1981) The scorpionfishes (Pisces, Scorpaenidae) of the North Aegean Sea. Bull Mus Nat Paris A 4:1219–1224Google Scholar
  15. Eschmeyer WN (1969) A systematic review of the Scorpionfishes (Pisces, Scorpaenidae). Occas Pap Calif Acad Sci 79:1–130Google Scholar
  16. Fischer W, Schneider M, Bauchot ML (1987) Fiches d’identification des espèces pour les besoins de la pêche. Méditerranée et Mer Noire. Zone de pêche 37, vol. II. FAO, RomeGoogle Scholar
  17. Follesa MC, Cabiddu S, Sabatini A, Cau A (2004) Relazioni trofiche nelle specie di Scorpaena (Linneo, 1758) del Mediterraneo centro-occidentale. Biol Mar Medit 11:586–591Google Scholar
  18. Hacunda JS (1981) Trophic relationships among demersal fishes in a coastal area of the Gulf of Maine. Fish Bull 79:775–788Google Scholar
  19. Harmelin-Vivien ML, Kaim-Malka RA, Ledoyer M, Jacob-Abraham SS (1989) Food partitioning among scorpaenid fishes in Mediterranean seagrass beds. J Fish Biol 34:715–734CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Hureau JC, Litvinenko NI (1986) Scorpaenidae. In: Whitehead PJP, Bauchot ML, Hureau JC, Nielsen J, Tortonese E (eds) Fishes of the north-eastern Atlantic and the Mediterranean, vol. 3. UNESCO, Paris, pp 1211–1229Google Scholar
  21. Kaspiris P (1976) New fish records from the Greek part of the Ionian sea. Rev Trav Inst Pêches marit 40:627–628Google Scholar
  22. La Mesa G, Micalizzi M, Giaccone G, Vacchi M (2004) Cryptobenthic fishes of the “Ciclopi Islands” marine reserve (Central Mediterranean Sea): assemblage composition, structure and relations with habitat features. Mar Biol 145:233–242CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. La Mesa M, La Mesa G, Micalizzi M (2005) Age and growth of madeira scorpionfish, Scorpaena maderensis Valenciennes, 1833, in the central Mediterranean. Fish Res 74:265–272CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. La Mesa G, Di Muccio S, Vacchi M (2006) Structure of a Mediterranean cryptobenthic fish community and its relationships with habitat characteristics. Mar Biol 149:149–167CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Morato T, Afonso P, Lourinho P, Barreiros JP, Santos RS, Nash RDM (2001) Length–weight relationships for 21 coastal fish species of the Azores, north-eastern Atlantic. Fish Res 50:297–302CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Morte S, Redon MJ, Sanz-Brau A (2001) Diet of Scorpaena porcus and Scorpaena notata (Pisces: Scorpaenidae) in the western Mediterranean. Cah Biol Mar 42:333–344Google Scholar
  27. Pallaoro A, Jardas I (1991) Food and feeding habits of black scorpionfish (Scorpaena porcus L. 1758) (Pisces, Scorpaenidae) along the Adriatic coast. Acta Adriat 32:885–898Google Scholar
  28. Pinkas L, Oliphant MS, Iverson ILK (1971) Food habits of albacore, bluefin tuna, and bonito in California waters. Calif Dept Fish Game Fish Bull 152:1–105Google Scholar
  29. Potoschi A, Romeo T, Bottari T, Cannavo G (2000) The artisanal fishery situation in the East Sicily. Biol Mar Medit 7:825–829Google Scholar
  30. Riera F, Grau AM, Pastor E, Pou S (1995) Faunistical and demographical observations in balearic ichthyofauna. Meridionalization or subtropicalization phenomena. Actes du colloque scientifique “La Méditerranée: variabilités climatiques, environnement et biodiversité”, Montpellier, France, 6–7 Avril 1995, pp 213–220Google Scholar
  31. Siblot-Boutéflika D (1976) Contribution à ľétude des Scorpaenidae de la région Alger. Thèse Doc 3ème Cycle Océanographie, Univ Aix-Marseille II, 181 ppGoogle Scholar
  32. Silvestri R, Voliani A, Zucchi A (2002) Nota sulla biologia di Scorpaena porcus Linneo, 1758 nel Mar Ligure meridionale. Biol Mar Medit 9:813–817Google Scholar
  33. Sneath PHA, Sokal RR (1973) The principle and practice of numerical classification. Freeman, San FranciscoGoogle Scholar
  34. Tortonese E (1975) Osteichthyes (Pesci Ossei). Parte Seconda. Fauna d’Italia, vol. XI. Calderini, BolognaGoogle Scholar
  35. Vacchi M, Boyer M, Bussotti S, Guidetti P, La Mesa G (1999) Some interesting species in the coastal fish fauna of Ustica Island (Mediterranean Sea). Cybium 23:323–331Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Istituto Centrale per la Ricerca Applicata al MareICRAMRomeItaly
  2. 2.Istituto di Scienze Marine, Sezione di AnconaISMAR-CNRAnconaItaly

Personalised recommendations