Understanding the trophic interactions and the position of species within a foodweb is crucial if we want to understand the dynamics of marine communities and the impact individual components of the community have on trophic network compartments. Recent studies have indicated sharks and rays are important elements within foodwebs. In this study, we evaluated the ecological importance of sharks and rays in a subtropical ecosystem off the coast of southern Brazil by using topological analyses. We tested the hypotheses that some elasmobranchs can be considered key elements within the foodweb, and that large predators have topological importance (act as keystones), so that, when large predators are excluded, mesopredator elasmobranchs occupy higher topological positions. Our results indicate that Galeocerdo cuvier, Carcharhinus obscurus, Carcharias taurus, Sphyrna lewini and S. zygaena are species with large ecological function values and may exert a powerful influence over lower levels. These issues need to be considered by conservation and fishery management groups since it appears that ecosystem integrity may be compromised by reductions in the populations of large predators. Carcharhinus obscurus, S. zygaena and Zapteryx brevirostris were found to be the elasmobranchs with largest values of centrality, and can, therefore, be considered key elements in the topological structure.
Brazil currently ranks as the 11th producer and 1st importer of shark meat around the world. Data available from the FAO software FishStatJ along with data from regional sources, such as governmental bulletins, scientific papers, gray literature and internet were revisited to identify the main issues surrounding pelagic shark fisheries, trade and consumption in the largest country in South America. Among the main findings, it was noted that Brazil has not properly collected fishery statistics since 2007, that many species of threatened sharks are freely landed and traded even though it is prohibited by local legislation and/or international recommendations (regional fisheries management organizations). The blue shark (Prionace glauca) is the most frequently recorded shark in the official bulletins and is currently a locally targeted species. Additionally, the significant imports of this species from 23 other countries that also provide fins for Asia has drawn attention in recent decades. Regarding consumption, shark is considered to be low-value seafood compared to more common fish, such as groupers and snappers, and most Brazilians actually do not know that they are eating sharks. At present, the proportion of threatened elasmobranchs (in which sharks are included) in Brazil (33%, of 145 species) exceeds the global rate identified for the group (25%), and, until the present moment, no measure related to the management of species has been implemented. As advice, Brazil urgently needs to restructure its fishery information collection systems, management strategies and to tighten sanitary and labeling regulations for the marketing of fish.
Food partitioning between species is a common strategy for avoiding resource competition which allows the coexistence of two or more species in the same place. In order to evaluate the feeding of four species of batoids regularly caught by artisanal fisheries in southern Brazil, the present study aimed to analyse and compare the diet of the four batoid species. The Chola guitarfish, Rhinobatos percellens, had a specialized diet, consisting predominantly of blue crabs Callinectes sp., followed by teleost fish. The Lesser guitarfish Zapteryx brevirostris also had a very specialized diet, consuming mainly on Polychaeta, followed by Caridea shrimp. The Cownose ray, Rhinoptera bonasus, fed mainly on Ophiuroidea, followed by Gastropoda and Bivalvia. Finally, the Rio skate Rioraja agassizi, fed on teleost fish, Gammaridae, Caridea shrimp and Dendrobranchiata shrimp. An analysis of similarity showed significant differences among species in their diet. The trophic levels of the batoids in this study are ,4.0, placing them in intermediate trophic levels. The analysis of the diets indicates that feeding differs substantially among the four species, suggesting a partitioning of food resources available in the environment.
A B S T R A C TRhinobatos percellens is one of three species of Rhinobatidae found on Brazilian shores and is one of the most abundant species on the shallow continental shelf of Paraná and Santa Catarina States. Specimens caught by artisanal fishery between July/2001 and March/2003 by fishing communities located on the frontier between two southern Brazilian States (Paraná and Santa Catarina) had their stomach contents analyzed. According to the Alimentary Index (IAi), Decapoda (69%) and Teleostei (22%) were the main items consumed. Polychaeta, a common prey consumed by several benthonic fishes, was poorly represented in the feeding of R. percellens. This fact may be related to the availability of prey in the environment, or to the size of the guitarfish analyzed (ontogeny). Seasonal variance of main preys (with higher IAi) was observed: Dendrobranchiata and Pleocyemata displayed higher percentages in spring and autumn, Teleostei in the winter and Brachyura during the summer. R E S U M ORhinobatos percellens é uma das três espécies de Rhinobatidae encontrada na costa brasileira e uma das espécies de elasmobrânquio mais abundante na plataforma continental dos estados do Paraná e Santa Catarina. Indivíduos capturados pela pesca artesanal entre Julho/2001 e Março/2003 nas comunidades pesqueiras localizadas entre o Paraná e Santa Catarina tiveram seus conteúdos estomacais analisados. O Índice de Importância Alimentar (IAi) mostrou que as principais presas consumidas foram Decapoda (69%) e Teleostei (22%). Polychaeta, principal presa ingerida por várias espécies de peixes bentônicos foi pouco expressiva na alimentação de R. percellens. Essa diferença pode estar relacionada com a disponibilidade de presas no ambiente ou com o tamanho das raias analisadas (ontogenia). De acordo com análises sazonais, observou-se que os camarões Dendrobranchiata e Pleocyemata foram as principais presas consumidas durante a primavera e outono, Teleostei durante o inverno e Brachyura durante o verão.
The diets of six shark species, Sphyrna lewini, Sphyrna zygaena, Carcharhinus obscurus, Carcharhinus limbatus, Rhizoprionodon lalandii and Galeocerdo cuvier, were investigated in a subtropical coastal ecosystem of southern Brazil. Stomach content data were obtained to assess foraging niche segregation and ontogenetic shifts in the diets of these sharks. Five of the shark species off the Paraná coast were ichthyophagous, with the exception of S. zygaena, which was teutophagous. With the exception of G. cuvier, which had a generalist diet, the other five species displayed specialization in their feeding. Ontogenetic shifts were observed in C. obscurus and S. lewini with large individuals consuming elasmobranchs. Owing to the diet overlap between C. obscurus and S. lewini, C. obscurus and C. limbatus and R. lalandii and C. limbatus, future studies on the spatial and temporal distributions of these species are needed to understand the extent of competitive interactions.
scite is a Brooklyn-based organization that helps researchers better discover and understand research articles through Smart Citations–citations that display the context of the citation and describe whether the article provides supporting or contrasting evidence. scite is used by students and researchers from around the world and is funded in part by the National Science Foundation and the National Institute on Drug Abuse of the National Institutes of Health.
334 Leonard St
Brooklyn, NY 11211
Copyright © 2023 scite LLC. All rights reserved.
Made with 💙 for researchers
Part of the Research Solutions Family.