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Variation in the calorific value and total energy content of the lesser sandeel (Ammodytes marinus) and other fish preyed on by seabirds

By J. R. G. Hislop, M. P. Harris and J. G. M. Smith


Wet and dry calorific values (energy densities) and total energy content of lesser sandeel Ammodytes marinus, sprat Sprattus sprattus, Atlantic herring Clupea harengus, whiting Merlangius merlangus, saithe Pollachius virens and cod Gadus morhua, were measured. Calorific values varied both within and between species. Larger fish tended to have higher calorific values than small ones, particularly when considered in terms of wet weight, but there was considerable temporal variation. The calorific values and body weights of sandeels larger than 10 cm showed marked seasonal trends and in consequence the total energy content of a sandeel of given length in summer is approximately double the spring value. The calorific values of herring and sprat also varied from month to month but seasonal cycles were less obvious. Whiting varied least. Both calorific values and total energy content of individual sprat were very variable in summer (the spawning season of this species). Because there is so much intraspecific variation, care must be taken when assessing the relative merits (in terms of energy) of different species as prey. The practical difficulties of obtaining reliable data on wet calorific values are discussed and the use of dry calorific values and dry weight/length relationships is recommended.\ud \u

Topics: Zoology, Biology and Microbiology
Year: 1991
DOI identifier: 10.1111/j.1469-7998.1991.tb06039.x
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