The body size of fish is an important factor in determining their biology and ecology, as predators eat prey smaller than themselves. Predator mouth size restricts the availability of possible prey. In this paper we provide the allometric relationships of eight common, small pelagic fish species in the Bay of Biscay. In addition, we describe the predator-prey size ratios for different species, and we determine changes in their ratio-based trophic-niche breadth with increasing body size. Results suggest that gape size does not totally determine the predator-prey size ratio distribution, but predators use the entire available prey size range, including the smallest. As they grow they simply incorporate larger prey as their increased gape size permits. Accordingly, a large degree of overlap was found in the diet composition in terms of size and predator-prey ratios, even between fish of different sizes. Of the species studied, only horse mackerels seem to be clearly specialized in relatively large prey. © 2012 International Council for the Exploration of the Sea.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Aquatic Science