Previous studies have shown that the survival of larval and juvenile anchovy off the continental shelf in the Bay of Biscay is not significantly different from that observed on the shelf, even though the food concentration is significantly higher on the shelf. In this paper we investigate the causes for the lack of relationship between food and survival for anchovy juvenile through analyses of feeding activity versus zooplankton distribution (in the transition from summer to fall from 2003 to 2010). The spatial distribution of the stomach weights of juvenile anchovy in relation to body size on and off the shelf revealed higher stomach fullness in areas off the shelf, where less zooplankton biomass was available. This result indicates that the food concentration is not always the main factor determining ingestion in fish. A situation of comparatively lesser prey abundance may provide better feeding conditions when combined with lower predation risk and lower light attenuation. In addition, the relatively heavier stomachs found in anchovies caught in years of higher recruitment indices suggest a large stomach content may be a symptom of good biological condition that may favour the winter survival of a larger fraction of the juvenile stock. © 2012 International Council for the Exploration of the Sea.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Aquatic Science