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Prey regurgitation and stomach vacuity among groupers and snappers

Abstract : Prey regurgitation during capture is a potential important confounding effect in fish dietary ecology studies as it may lead to overestimation of stomach vacuity and underestimation of prey consumption. This study investigates patterns of prey regurgitation and stomach vacuity among five grouper and three snapper species in shallow water off French Polynesia and tests the effectiveness of piercing swim-bladders after capture as a method to prevent regurgitation. Groupers exhibited a moderate overall regurgitation rate of 15.6% of full stomachs and a high true (i.e., after accounting for regurgitation) stomach vacuity rate of 40.5%. In contrast, snappers showed high regurgitation (mean 31.7%) and low true stomach vacuity (14.6%). Not accounting for regurgitation would have resulted in a moderate overestimation of stomach vacuity in groupers, but an almost 3-fold overestimation in snappers. Swim-bladder decompression by piercing after capture prove a highly effective method to reduce regurgitation (more than 2-fold for groupers and near 8-fold for snappers). This study enables a more general understanding of prey regurgitation in two commercially valuable fish families, thus improving understanding of the dietary ecology of these fishes. This information is particularly important in the context of prey consumption estimates and subsequent estimations of the impact of fish predators on ecosystems.
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Contributor : Anne Modat <>
Submitted on : Wednesday, July 13, 2011 - 10:07:13 AM
Last modification on : Thursday, May 6, 2021 - 3:31:32 AM

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M. Vignon, J. Dierking. Prey regurgitation and stomach vacuity among groupers and snappers. Environmental Biology of Fishes, 2011, 90 (4), pp.361-366. ⟨10.1007/s10641-010-9746-2⟩. ⟨halsde-00608453⟩



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