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RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN DIET AND FOOD AVAILABILITY IN THE SNOW CRAB CHIONOECETES OPILIO (0. FABRICIUS) IN BONNE BAY, NEWFOUNDLAND

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ABSTRACT Stomach contents of 498 snow crabs. Chionoecetes opilio, collected between May and August 1990 with Japanese conical traps from 5 locations in Bonne Bay, Newfoundland, were examined. Food was found in 67.5% of the crabs. The main components, in descending order of their frequency of occurrence, were algae, fish, polychaetes, crustaceans, molluscs, and echinoderms. Differences were not detected between the sexes, among size groups, or between individuals with old and new carapaces. Sampling of the bottom community at the 5 locations with a Petersen grab showed differences in wet biomass and numerical abundance of potential prey. Comparisons between the ranks of food items in the stomachs and their availability in the bottom community, showed that both prey availability and food preferences are important in the field diet of Chionoecetes opilio. The food selection of the crabs examined was biased against errant burrowing polychaetes, small gastropods, amphipods, and holothurians. Sponges, Yoldia spp., ophiuroids, and small crustaceans were generally preferred and sedentary burrowing or tube-building polychaetes were eaten in proportion to availability.

10.1163/193724095X00253
/content/journals/10.1163/193724095x00253
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/content/journals/10.1163/193724095x00253
2017-12-11

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