Possible link between prey quality, condition and growth of juvenile hake (Merluccius merluccius) in the Gulf of Lions (NW Mediterranean)
The energy value of the main prey and the growth of juvenile hake in the Gulf of Lions were analysed to determine whether fish condition could be linked to difference in prey quality and resulted in growth difference. Large differences in energy content (15.6 to 23.6 kJ g-1 DW) among prey types were recorded with low values found in amphipods and natantid shrimps, intermediate values in euphausiids and mysids, and high values in fish. High condition in juvenile hake was linked to the consumption of prey with high energy content. However, no difference in fish growth was observed by the analysis of otolith micro-increments.