Chinese Journal of Oceanology and Limnology

, Volume 29, Issue 1, pp 174–183 | Cite as

Feeding ecology of hairtail Trichiurus margarites and largehead hairtail Trichiurus lepturus in the Beibu Gulf, the South China Sea

  • Yunrong Yan (颜云榕)
  • Gang Hou (侯刚)
  • Junlan Chen (陈骏岚)
  • Huosheng Lu (卢伙胜)Email author
  • Xianshi Jin (金显仕)


We evaluated the feeding ecology of largehead hairtail (Trichiurus lepturus) and hairtail (T. margarites). We collected specimens from fishing ports in the Beibu Gulf (Gulf of Tonkin) from October 2008 to September 2009 and analyzed their gut contents. We collected 857 T. lepturus and 666 T. margarites samples. The number of stomachs examined in this study was sufficient to describe the monthly and ontogenetic diet shifts for the two species, as indicated by the trophic diversity curves. T. lepturus was a general omnivore, feeding primarily on Bregmaceros rarisquamosu, Decapterus maruadsi, and Acetes chinensis. Conversely, T. margarites preyed primarily on D. maruadsi, B. rarisquamosus, B. nectabanus, and A. chinensis. Both species exhibited distinct ontogenetic diet shifts. Although the two hairtail specie fed on similar sources in the same habitat, the diet overlap was relatively low. Our results suggest that hairtail play an important role in controlling small pelagic and benthic fish populations in the gulf. This trophic correlation shall be used for developing a marine ecosystem model for the Beibu Gulf.


feeding ecology Trichiurus margarites Trichiurus lepturus ontogenetic diet shift the Beibu Gulf South China Sea 


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Copyright information

© Chinese Society for Oceanology and Limnology, Science Press and Springer Berlin Heidelberg 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yunrong Yan (颜云榕)
    • 1
    • 2
    • 4
  • Gang Hou (侯刚)
    • 2
  • Junlan Chen (陈骏岚)
    • 2
  • Huosheng Lu (卢伙胜)
    • 2
    Email author
  • Xianshi Jin (金显仕)
    • 3
  1. 1.Institute of OceanologyChinese Academy of SciencesQingdaoChina
  2. 2.College of Fisheries and Center of South China Sea Fisheries Resources Monitoring and AssessmentGuangdong Ocean UniversityZhanjiangChina
  3. 3.Yellow Sea Fisheries Research InstituteChinese Academy of Fisheries SciencesQingdaoChina
  4. 4.Graduate University of Chinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina

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