Trophic relationships in an intertidal rockpool fish assemblage in the gulf of Cádiz (NE Atlantic)
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SourceJournal of Marine Systems 80 (2010) 248–252
Many species of littoral fish that live in rocky substrates are syntopic, sharing the same coastal habitat. They have similar feeding behaviours and use small hollows as places to hide and spawn. In the present study, we identified a total of 16 resident fish species in a rockpool assemblage in the Gulf of Cádiz and studied their patterns of co-occurrence. The dietary analysis performed showed the occurrence of 2 mainly herbivorous species (Lipophrys canevae and Parablennius sanguinolentus), 8 mainly carnivorous species with a percentage occurrence of algae in the diet below 10% (Gobius paganellus, Gobius cobitis, Gobius bucchichi, Clinitrachus argentatus, Tripterygion delaisi, Lepadogaster lepadogaster, Lepadogaster purpurea and Lepadogaster candolii), and 6 species that are carnivorous in the earlier phases of their lives and gradually increase the proportion of algae in their diet (Lipophrys pholis, Paralipophrys trigloides, Parablennius incognitus, Salaria pavo, Coryphoblennius galerita and Symphodus roissali). The dietary overlap among the different species does not explain the different patterns of abundance found among co-occurring species. In the present study, the common use of abundant resources coupled with specialized use of other types of resources was observed, and this allows the different species to minimise the effects of possible trophic competition.