Organic and caloric levels of fish feces relative to its consumption by coprophagous reef fishes

Abstract

Levels of protein, lipid, carbohydrate, ash, and calcium in the rectal contents of a species representative of each of four trophic groups of coral reef fishes were determined. These levels and the estimated caloric levels were related to the degree to which the feces of each species were eaten by species of coprophagous fishes and to the potential nutritional value of their non-fecal foods. The potential nutritional value of feces (based on estimated caloric content), protein and lipid levels were positively correlated with the percentage of feces eaten by coprophagous fishes. Levels of calcium and ash were negatively correlated with the percentage eaten. Fecal carbohydrate level was not correlated with the degree of ingestion. Food values of these feces were at least equal to those of non-fecal foods (i.e. zooplankton, coral tissue, algae, etc.) of the coprophages. Feces produced by the coprophagous species had even lower potential food value.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

Literature Cited

  1. Allen, G. G.: Damselfishes of the South Seas, 240 pp. Neptune City, New Jersey: T. F. H. 1975

    Google Scholar 

  2. Bligh, E. G. and W. J. Dyer: A rapid method of total lipid extraction. Can. J. Biochem. Physiol. 37, 911–917 (1959)

    Google Scholar 

  3. Brett, J. R. and T. D. D. Groves: Physiological, energetics. In: Fish physiology, Vol. 8 pp 279–352. Ed. by W. S. Hoar, D. J. Randall and J. R. Brett. New York: Academic Press 1979

    Google Scholar 

  4. Childress, J. J. and M. Nygaard: Chemical composition and buoyancy of midwater crustaceans as function of depth of occurrence off southern California. Mar. Biol. 27, 225–238 (1974)

    Google Scholar 

  5. Cowey, C. B. and J. R., Sargent: Nutrition. In: Fish physiology, Vol. 8. pp. 1–69. Ed. by W. S. Hoar, D. J. Randall and J. R. Brett. New York: Academic Press 1979

    Google Scholar 

  6. Dubois, M., K. A. Gilles, J. K. Hamilton, P. A. Rebers and F. Smith. Colorimetric method for determination of sugars and related substances. Analyt. Chem. 28, 350–356 (1956)

    Google Scholar 

  7. Fange, R. and D. Grove. Digestion. In: Fish physiology, Vol. 8, pp 162–260. Ed. by W. S. Hoar, D. J. Randall an J. R. Brett, New York: Academic Press 1979

    Google Scholar 

  8. Frankenberg, D. and K. L. Smith Jr.: Coprophagy in marine animals. Limnol Oceanogr. 12, 443–450 (1967)

    Google Scholar 

  9. Frankenberg, D., S. L. Coles and R. E. Johannes: The potential trophic significance of Callianassa major fecal pellets.. Limnol. Oceanogr. 12, 113–120 (1967)

    Google Scholar 

  10. Gerber, R. P. and M. B. Gerber: Ingestion of natural particulate organic matter and subsequent assimilation, respiration and growth by tropical lagoon zooplankton. Mar. Biol. 52, 33–43 (1979)

    Google Scholar 

  11. Johannes, R. E. and M. Satomi: Composition and nutritive value of fecal pellets of a marine crustacean. Limnol. Oceanogr. 11, 191–197 (1966)

    Google Scholar 

  12. Kapoor, B. G., J. Smith and I.A. Verighina: The alimentary canal and digestion in teleosts. Adv. mar. Biol. 13, 109–239 (1975)

    Google Scholar 

  13. Love, R. M.: The chemical biology of fishes, 547 pp. New York: Academic Press 1970

    Google Scholar 

  14. Marsh, J. B. and D. B. Weinstein: Simple charring method for determination of lipids. J. Lipid Res. 7, 574–576 (1966)

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  15. McCloskey, L. R. and R. H. Chester: Effects of man-made pollution on the dynamics of coral reefs. In: Scientists-in-thesea, pp VI-229–VI-238. Ed. by J. W. Miller, J. G. Van Der-Walker and R. A. Waller. Washington D.C.: US Dept. Interior 1971

    Google Scholar 

  16. Menzel, D. W.: Utilization of algae for growth by the Angelfish, Holacanthus bermudensis. J. Con., Cons. int. Explor. Mer 24, 308–313 (1960)

    Google Scholar 

  17. Merchant, D. J., R. H. Kahn and W. H. Murphy Jr: Handbook of cell and organ culture, 269 pp. Minneapolis, Minn.: Burgess Publ. 1964

    Google Scholar 

  18. Montgomery, W. L. and S. D. Gerking: Marine macroalgae as foods for fishes: an evaluation of potential food quality. Env. Biol. Fish. 5, 143–153 (1980)

    Google Scholar 

  19. Phillips, A. M., Jr.: Nutrition, digestion, and energy utilization. In: Fish physiology, Vol. 1, pp 391–432. Ed. by W. S. Hoar and D. J. Randall. New York: Academic Press 1969

    Google Scholar 

  20. Reese, E. S.: A comparative field study of the social behavior and related ecology of reef fishes of the family Chaetodontidae. Z. Tierpsychol. 37, 37–61 (1975)

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  21. Robertson, D. R.: Fish feces as food on a Pacific coral reef. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. (In press)

  22. Robison, B. H. and T. g. Bailey: Sinking rates and dissolution of midwater fish fecal matter. Mar. Biol. (In press)

  23. Snedecor, G. W. and W. G. Cochran. Statistical methods, 593 pp. Ames, Iowa: Iowa State University Press 1967

    Google Scholar 

  24. Szmant-Froelich, A. and M. E. Q. Pilson: The effects of feeding frequency and symbiosis with zooxanthellae on the biochemical composition of Astrangia danae Milne Edwards and Haime 1849. J. exp. mar. Biol. Ecol. 48, 85–97 (1980)

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Additional information

Communicated by J. M. Lawrence, Tampa

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Bailey, T.G., Robertson, D.R. Organic and caloric levels of fish feces relative to its consumption by coprophagous reef fishes. Mar. Biol. 69, 45–50 (1982). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00396959

Download citation

Keywords

  • Lipid
  • Calcium
  • Carbohydrate
  • Coral Reef
  • Lipid Level