Mercury and stable isotopes (δ15N and δ13C) as tracers during the ontogeny of Trichiurus lepturus

Ana Paula Madeira Di Beneditto Vanessa Trindade Bittar Carlos Eduardo de Rezende Plínio Barbosa Camargo Helena Amaral Kehrig About the authors

This study applies total mercury (THg) concentration and stable isotope signature (δ15N and δ13C) to evaluate the trophic status and feeding ground of Trichiurus lepturus during its ontogeny in northern Rio de Janeiro, south-eastern Brazil. The trophic position of T. lepturus is detected well by THg and δ15N as the sub-adult planktivorous specimens are distinct from the adult carnivorous specimens. The δ13C signatures suggest a feeding ground associated with marine coastal waters that are shared by fish in different ontogenetic phases. The diet tracers indicated that the fish feeding habits do not vary along seasons of the year, probably reflecting the prey availability in the study area. This fish has economic importance and the concentration of THg was compared to World Health Organization limit, showing that the adult specimens of T. lepturus are very close to the tolerable limit for safe regular ingestion.

Carbon; Diet tracers; Nitrogen; Trace element; Trichiurus lepturus

Sociedade Brasileira de Ictiologia Universidade Estadual de Maringá, Núcleo de Pesquisas em Limnologia, Ictiologia e Aquicultura/Coleção Ictiologia, Av. Colombo, 5790, 87020-900 Maringá, PR, Brasil, Tel.: (55 44)3011 4632 - Maringá - PR - Brazil