Krumme, Uwe, Brenner, Matthias and Saint-Paul, Ulrich (2008) Spring-neap cycle as a major driver of temporal variations in feeding of intertidal fishes: Evidence from the sea catfish Sciades herzbergii (Ariidae) of equatorial west Atlantic mangrove creeks. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology, 367 (2). pp. 91-99. DOI

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On macrotidal coasts, short- to medium term variations in feeding of intertidal fishes are influenced by several interacting time scales. To identify the driver of major variations in the feeding habits of intertidal fish, we used the pemecou sea catfish Sciades herzbergii (Ariidae), an abundant intertidal benthic second order consumer, as a model species. We analyzed the influence of the spring-neap and the day-night cycle on intertidal abundance, stomach fullness, diet composition and food consumption of S. herzbergii using block nets set at slack high tides in two mangrove creeks in north Brazil. At spring tides, intertidal abundance, stomach fullness, and total daily consumption of S. herzbergii were on average 8.8, 1.9, and 3.8 times higher than at neap tides, respectively. At spring tides, Uca spp. and Grapsidae (mostly Pachygrapsus gracilis) dominated the diet, irrespective of the time of day. Other important food items were Insecta and the semiterrestrial crab Ucides cordatus. At neap tides, Capitellidae contributed to the diet of nightly inundations while no specimens were caught at daytime. Creek location had no effect on any variable. Results from our study area and evidence from other studies suggest that the spring-neap tide pulse is likely the major driver of short- to medium term variations in feeding of intertidal fishes. This has important implications for feeding-related issues on macro- and probably also on mesotidal coasts: (i) juvenile fishes may have fortnightly growth spurts, (ii) intertidal prey populations may suffer regular fluctuations in mortality, (iii) studies of the feeding ecology of intertidal fishes should cover the combined effects of the tidal, diel, lunar and seasonal cycles, and (iv) the modeling of food webs should consider the differences between highly dynamic spring tide and quieter neap tide conditions.

Document Type: Article
Programme Area: UNSPECIFIED
Research affiliation: Ecology > Fisheries Biology
Ecology > Mangrove Ecology
Refereed: Yes
Open Access Journal?: No
ISSN: 00220981
Date Deposited: 02 Mar 2020 15:58
Last Modified: 01 Oct 2020 13:00

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