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PLoS One. 2013 Nov 25;8(11):e81257. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0081257. eCollection 2013.

Population dynamics and diet of the madamango Sea catfish Cathorops spixii (Agassiz, 1829) (Siluriformes: Ariidae) in a tropical bight in Southeastern Brazil.

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Centro Universitário Módulo. Caraguatatuba, São Paulo, Brazil.


The madamango sea catfish, Cathorops spixii (Siluriformes: Ariidae), is often among the most abundant fishes on the South American Atlantic coast. In the present study, conducted in shallow, non-estuarine coastal areas of Caraguatatuba Bight in southeastern Brazil, collections of this species, the most abundant member of the ichthyofauna, included primarily medium-sized individuals, indicating that the area may play a specific role in their development. Although studies of the local ichthyofauna have been much neglected, the area is economically important and its ecological significance is undervalued. This study primarily treats habitat use by C. spixii, assessing certain population parameters and the dietary composition. Monthly samples were taken from August 2003 through October 2004, with three trawls in two areas, corresponding to depths of about 1 to 4 m. The catfish showed two main peaks of abundance in the area, in April/May and July 2004. A mode around 9 cm SL persisted through time, and the entrance of younger recruits peaked from January to April. The low estimate for body-growth parameters (K = 0.16) corroborates some K-strategist characteristics of the species. The asymptotic length was 27.3 cm SL and total mortality (Z) was 1.01 yr(-1). Cathorops spixii showed an omnivorous feeding habit, preying mainly upon polychaetes, copepods and bivalves, with considerable seasonality in its diet.

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