Marine and Freshwater Research Marine and Freshwater Research Society
Advances in the aquatic sciences

Diet of Patagonian toothfish (Dissostichus eleginoides) around Macquarie Island, South Pacific Ocean

S. D. Goldsworthy, M. Lewis, R. Williams, X. He, J. W. Young and J. van den Hoff

Marine and Freshwater Research 53(1) 49 - 57
Published: 25 January 2002


A total of 1423 stomach samples were taken from Patagonian toothfish, Dissostichus eleginoides, caught by bottom trawls at two fishing grounds near Macquarie I., over three fishing seasons. Fish were caught at depths ranging from 500 to 1290 m, and ranged in size from 310 to 1490 mm total length. The 462 stomach samples (32%) that contained prey items indicated that toothfish preyed on a broad range of species including fish, cephalopods and crustaceans (58%, 32% and 10% biomass, respectively), suggesting that they are opportunistic predators. The bathypelagic fish Bathylagus sp. was the most important fish prey (14% dietary biomass); however, nototheniid, macrourid, morid and myctophid fish were also taken. The squid Gonatus antarcticus was also an important prey species (16% biomass), and many other cephalopod species were taken in low frequency. Prawnlike crustaceans (Nematocarcinidae, Mysididae, Sergestidae and Euphausiidae) were the most important crustaceans taken (9% of prey biomass). Significant inter-seasonal and inter-fishing-ground differences in diet were found, but dietary composition was not related to fishing depth, fish size (with the exception of one fishing ground in one season) or the time of day of capture. Comparison with other studies reveals biogeographical differences in the diet of toothfish.

© CSIRO 2002

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