Meeting Abstract

94.2  Saturday, Jan. 7  The effects of prey type on the scaling of prey capture kinematics in invasive lionfish, Pterois spp. PFEIFFENBERGER, J.A.*; TURINGAN, R.G.; Florida Institute of Technology; Florida Institute of Technology

This recent decade has been marked by the rapid spread of the invasive lionfish, Pterois volitans/miles complex (henceforth referred as Pterois spp.) throughout the Caribbean region and the southeastern United States. This alarming event has underscored the urgent need to understand the biology and ecology of this invasive fish, specifically its ability to utilize different prey resources. Lionfish are generalist feeders; however, juvenile fish consume proportionally more crustaceans than adult fish. In an attempt to contribute to our understanding of the feeding biology of the invasive lionfish, this study was designed to (1) explore the ontogeny of prey-capture kinematics and (2) determine the effects of prey type on the scaling of prey-capture kinematics in the Florida population of Pterois spp. Each of the 17 lionfish, ranging in standard length from 39mm to 151mm, was fed two prey types (teleost, Gambusia spp. and crustacean, Paleomentes spp.) while being filmed multiple times using high-speed videography. All fish aggressively fed on both prey types. Excursion-kinematic variables, such as peak gape scaled isometrically with body size and timing-kinematic variables, such as time to peak gape, scaled allometrically with body size. These scaling relationships were consistent between prey types. It is hypothesized that the invasive lionfish utilizes stereotypical prey-capture kinematics and behavior to feed on a variety of prey organisms. It is conceivable that the ability of Pterois spp. to feed on any locally available prey type using a conserved feeding repertoire facilitates its ability to establish viable populations in newly invaded habitats and to continue extending its range of invaded distribution substantially.