A Comparative Dietary Analysis of Tomtate (Haemulon aurolineatum) and White Grunt (H. plumieri)

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Babrowicz, Mary Frances
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A diet analysis can provide insight on competition for resources, food web dynamics, feeding behavior, and transfer of energy throughout the ecosystem. Species population management is most effective when focusing on ecosystem-based fisheries management. Studying groups of fishes rather than a single species can be useful when completing a dietary analysis of the community. This study compared the diet of two species from the genus Haemulon: White grunt, Haemulon plumieri, and Tomtate, Haemulon aurolineatum. Both species had a widespread diet that included amphipods, bivalves, bony fishes, bryozoans, crabs, decapods, echinoderms, gastropods, isopods, ostracods, plants, shrimp, sponges, stomatopods, tunicates and worms. White grunt had a more diverse diet, feeding on a total of 52 varied prey items, while tomtate fed on 21 different prey items. Many of the prey items found in each species were benthic or bentho-pelagic species, confirming that tomtate and white grunt are bottom dwellers. Competition between the fishes is only likely among bony fish prey items.
tomtate, white grunt, diet study, dietary analysis