Diet of the coral hawkfish Cirrhitichthys oxycephalus (Family: Cirrhitidae) in a fringing coral reef of the Eastern Tropical Pacific

Stephania Palacios-Narváez, Bellineth Valencia, Alan Giraldo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Hawkfishes are small demersal reef predators. Although their association with the coral substrate has been widely documented for some species, information regarding their feeding habits is limited, especially in the Eastern Tropical Pacific (ETP). We characterized the diet of the coral hawkfish Cirrhitichthys oxycephalus in Isla Gorgona (ETP) by visually analyzing its gut contents and calculating its trophic niche breadth. Crustaceans were the most important (relative importance: 73%) and frequent prey found in 89% of the stomachs analyzed. Among crustaceans, copepods were the most abundant prey, suggesting that C. oxycephalus in Isla Gorgona has a specialized diet. In terms of biomass, decapods represented the highest contribution to the diet. Other prey items included micromolluscs and fish. This study highlights the strong trophic link between coral-dwelling reef fish and mobile invertebrates that comprise the coral reef cryptic fauna, and therefore, the indirect benefit that live coral cover has for this species.
Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalCoral Reefs
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 12 2020

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