|Publication Type:||Journal Article|
|Year of Publication:||2009|
|Authors:||A. Neves, Sequeira, V., Vieira, A. R., Paiva, R., Gordo, L. S.|
|Type of Article:||Article|
|Keywords:||ATLANTIC, Cephalopoda, Crustaceans, cuttlefish, Diet, Ecology, Feeding habits, fish, growth, Mollusca, patterns, Sado estuary, Sepia officinalis, shark, YOUNG CUTTLEFISH|
The importance of cephalopods in marine ecosystems is well recognized as they serve as important predators and prey in many food chains. During a 1-year period, cuttlefish were monthly sampled in five areas throughout the Sado estuary, and the stomachs of 445 individuals were examined. Significant changes in the diet according to their life stage were revealed, but similar food habits were presented by males and females. Juvenile individuals (the smaller ones with no visible distinct gonads) preyed mainly upon small crustaceans, while the immature ones (maturity stages I and II) had the most diverse diet with brachyurans as the major prey group. The mature individuals (maturity stages III and IV) showed a clear preference for larger crabs and fishes. Although the cuttlefish are known for their opportunistic feeding behaviour, a preference for some prey according to length and behaviour could be perceived during this study. Seasonal differences in the diet were mostly due to the variation of individuals according to their maturity stage during the year.