Feeding habits of the speckled guitarfish Rhinobatos glaucostigma (Elasmobranchii, Batoidea) in the southeastern Gulf of California

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Karina De la Rosa-Meza
Oscar Sosa-Nishizaki
Horacio de la Cueva-Salcedo

Abstract

To assess the feeding habits of Rhinobatos glaucostigma (speckled guitarfish), the stomach contents of 176 individuals were examined. Specimens were obtained from the artisanal gillnet fisheries operating off Nayarit, Mexico, in the southeastern region of the Gulf of California, during January–August 2008 and January–May 2009. Relative measures of prey quantities and nonparametric multivariate methods were used to analyze diet differences between sex and maturity stages. The trophic relationship and feeding strategy were determined using Levin’s niche amplitude index, the Costello method modified by Amundsen, and Pianka’s diet overlap index. The overall diet was dominated by crustaceans, primarily decapods, brachyurans, and cumaceans. Diets were similar between sexes and maturity stages, except between mature females and males where only slight differences were found. Mature females and immature specimens of both sexes showed specialized diets, while mature males had a generalist diet. A significant overlap between sexes and maturity stage diets was found. Diet compositions allowed us to estimate a standardized trophic level of 3.57 for R. glaucostigma. The diet compositions between sexes and maturity stages suggest that all individuals consume similar prey items and have similar trophic roles in the benthic community of the southeastern region of the Gulf of California, where R. glaucostigma should be considered a secondary consumer. 

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