Food and feeding habits of the black pomfret, Parastromateus niger (Carangidae) in the Kuwaiti waters of the Arabian Gulf
Examination of 1108 stomach contents of black pomfret, Parastromateus niger (Bloch, 1795) from October 2003 to September 2004 revealed eight major food groups by a decreasing order of abundance: Bacillariophyceae (23%), fish eggs and larvae (21%), crustaceans (20%), poriferans (15%), annelids (10%), cnidarians (5%), fish scales (4%) and chaetognaths (2%). Copepods were the commonest prey types, with an annual frequency of occurrence of 77%, followed, among the crustaceans, by brachyuran zoea (65%), postlarvae of shrimp (29%) and penaeid shrimps (16%). These were followed by the cnidarians, with hydroid medusae (67%), the annelids, with polychaete larvae (63%), then sponge spicules (poriferans) (54%) and fish scales (45%). Coscinodiscus spp. and Rhizosolenia spp. were the commonest prey types among the phytoplankton diet with frequencies of occurrence of 50% and 40%, respectively. While copepods, brachyuran zoea, chaetognaths, polychaete larvae, sponge spicules and hydroid medusae were ingested throughout the year, the remaining prey types exhibited some seasonal fluctuations. A low feeding intensity was recorded as the temperature increased from March to August, a period coinciding with the highest number of fish with empty stomachs. Conversely, a greater feeding activity was recorded as the temperature decreased from September to February, a period coinciding with the highest number of fish with 1/2, 3/4 and full stomachs. The proportion of fish eggs and larvae in stomach contents increased significantly with increasing size of P. niger, while the proportion of crustaceans significantly decreased with increasing fish size. Although the proportions of poriferans and annelids also decreased with increasing size of P. niger, these decreases were not significant.