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Print version ISSN 1679-6225
COELHO, Flavio do Nascimento et al. Spatial distribution and diet of Cephalopholis fulva (Ephinephelidae) at Trindade Island, Brazil. Neotrop. ichthyol. [online]. 2012, vol.10, n.2, pp.383-388. Epub June 19, 2012. ISSN 1679-6225. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1679-62252012005000010.
In this study we analyze the population structure and diet of the coney Cephalopholis fulva at Trindade Island, Brazil, through direct observation with SCUBA diving in 11 reef sites around the Island, up to 50 m deep. Diet was based on 77 individuals collected with speargun. Mean population density and biomass were estimated at 29 individuals/100 m2 and 13 kg/100 m2, respectively. This species is regularly distributed along the costal environments of the Trindade Island, with no significant differences in densities and biomass detected among the different collection habitats (reef crest, reef slope, and reef plateau). However, significantly higher densities were observed micro-habitats with greater structural complexity, which may offer more shelter and food to C. fulva. Four food item groups were identified from the gut contents of C. fulva: Annelida, Crustacea, Teleostei, and Testudinata. It is the first record of predation of the green turtle Chelonia mydas hatchlings by the coney. Trindade Island seems to present the densest concentration of C. fulva in all Brazilian and Caribbean ecosystems inhabited by this species. Scarcity of competitors, predators, and fishing pressure may explain the high densities observed in the Island.
Keywords : Chelonia mydas; Coney; Feeding ecology; Grouper; Oceanic islands; Reef fish.