Feeding habits of dover, Microstomus pacificus; rex sole, Glyptocephalus zachirus; slender sole, Lyopsetta exilis; and Pacific sanddab, Citharichthys sordidus, in a region of diverse sediments and bathymetry off Oregon Public Deposited

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Reprinted from Fishery bulletin, Volume 76(3), pages 641-651.

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  • The feeding habits of the Dover sole and rex sole (mainly juveniles) and of slender sole and Pacific sanddab were investigated at seven stations on the continental shelf off central Oregon. Dover sole had a catholic diet, feeding on a large variety of infaunal and epifaunal invertebrates. The composition of the diet varied among stations of different depth and sediment type indicating opportunistic feeding. Pelecypoda were the most important prey on a weight basis at the shallow station (74 m) of well-sorted sand where they were the dominant macrofaunal invertebrate. Ophiuroids, sea pens, anemones, and pelecypods were the most important prey at 100-102 m stations of silty sand or sandy silt. Polychaetes composed over 90% of the diet at the deep stations (148-195m) of clayey silt or silty sand. The average standing stocks per square meter of Dover sole caught in beam trawl collections and polychaetes in grab samples were positively correlated among stations. Similarity of the food habits of Dover sole on the basis of food weight or frequency of occurrence was generally higher among stations of similar depth than of similar sediment texture. Similar trends were noted for assemblages of benthic fishes and invertebrates. Dover sole collected during the winter had the highest percentage of empty stomachs, the fewest prey taxa, and often the lowest frequency of occurrence of prey taxa within a size group. Because seasonal variations were not observed in abundance of macrofaunal food in the sediments, availability of prey may change with season, or more likely, Dover sole feed more intensely and less selectively during summer. Small (<150 mm standard length) rex sole fed mainly in amphipods and other crustaceans. Large (150-450 mm standard length) rex sole preyed chiefly on polychaetes. The diet of rex sole was less diverse than that of the Dover sole and overlap of diet between the two species was not large. Both the Pacific sanddab, numerically the most common species of fish at the shallow sand station, and the slender sole, the most common species at the three deep, soft-sediment stations, preyed principally on pelagic crustaceans such as euphausiids, shrimps, and amphipods. Although the biomass of mollusks in the sediments was large at the shallow sand station, they were not consumed by Pacific sanddab. Fish were occasionally an important food for the sanddab.
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