Population biology and diet of the southern kingcroaker Menticirrhus americanus (Linnaeus, 1758) (Perciformes: Sciaenidae) in Caraguatatuba Bay, southeastern Brazil

  • Alexander Turra Universidade de São Paulo; Instituto Oceanográfico
  • Flávia Borges Santos Universidade Estadual do Sudoeste da Bahia; Departamento de Ciências Naturais
  • Eduardo Bessa Universidade do Estado de Mato Grosso; Instituto de Ciência Naturais e da Terra
  • Wellington Silva Fernandez Universidade de São Paulo; Instituto Oceanográfico
  • Ligia Coletti Bernadochi Centro Universitário Módulo
  • Márcia Regina Denadai Centro Universitário Módulo
Keywords: Feeding, Reproduction, Spatio-temporal distribution, Betara, São Paulo


This study evaluated the spatio-temporal distribution, population biology and diet of Menticirrhus americanus in Caraguatatuba Bay. Samples were taken monthly between August 2003 and October 2004, by trawling in two previously selected areas. The northern area is more exposed to wave activity and is influenced by a river, functioning as a small estuary. In contrast, the southern area is relatively sheltered from wave energy and influenced to a lesser degree by smaller rivers. The fishes' length was measured, and the sex and gonadal stage macroscopically identified. The abundance of this species was compared between areas and among months. The diet was identified and quantified. M. americanus occurred in equal proportions in the two study areas, being most abundant in April 2004, followed by December 2003 and January 2004. The population was dominated by small immature individuals. The few individuals in maturation or mature that were captured showed no seasonal pattern of distribution. This species had a varied diet, feeding on worms (nemerteans, sipunculans and echiurans), mollusks (bivalves and cephalopods), polychaetes, crustaceans and fish. The presence of intact nematodes in the intestine suggests that these are parasites. The results demonstrated that M. americanus has a homogeneous spatial and temporal distribution in Caraguatatuba Bay, being uniformly distributed between the south and north areas as well as across the months. This species can be considered a carnivorous predator, showing a preference for consuming benthic sandy-beach species such as glycerids and other polychaetes, crustaceans, and bivalve siphons.


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How to Cite
Turra, A., Santos, F., Bessa, E., Fernandez, W., Bernadochi, L., & Denadai, M. (2012). Population biology and diet of the southern kingcroaker Menticirrhus americanus (Linnaeus, 1758) (Perciformes: Sciaenidae) in Caraguatatuba Bay, southeastern Brazil. Brazilian Journal of Oceanography, 60(3), 343-352. https://doi.org/10.1590/S1679-87592012000300007