Non-selective in situ grazing of diatoms by juvenile Green Abalone (Haliotis fulgens Philippi, 1945) in the Baja California Peninsula

Uri Argumedo Hernández, David A. Siqueiros-Beltrones


For experimental or rearing purposes, young abalones are fed benthic diatoms successfully during their early life stages without considering if the diatoms provided are found in the abalone habitat, nor if grazing selectivity exists. Our aim in this study was to gather further evidence that would indicate whether young Haliotis fulgens graze diatoms in situ selectively. Thirty-four specimens of young H. fulgens were collected in a fishing site in BCS, México on two dates. We identified the diatoms in their gut contents (144 species) and determined their relative abundances. Fourteen diatoms (80% of the total abundance) were considered most important and twelve were among the most important in the diet of young abalone in BCS. The diversity values (H´) of the diatoms in their guts ranged from 1.05 to 4.47, depending on dominance, which reflected the structure of diatom assemblages in situ. The above observations and the low similarity measured between samples show that species richness and equitability are similar even if the species composition of diatoms ingested by young abalone differs between specimens. The results lead us to conclude that grazing of diatoms by young H. fulgens is non-selective, and that the structure of diatom assemblages is more important than the particular taxa in their diet.

Palabras clave

Diatoms; abalone; in situ grazing; diversity; selectivity.

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