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The Ecology of Morecambe Bay. III. The Food and Feeding Habits of Knot (Calidris canutus L.) in Morecambe Bay

A. J. Prater
Journal of Applied Ecology
Vol. 9, No. 1 (Apr., 1972), pp. 179-194
DOI: 10.2307/2402055
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2402055
Page Count: 16
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The Ecology of Morecambe Bay. III. The Food and Feeding Habits of Knot (Calidris canutus L.) in Morecambe Bay
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Abstract

(1) Different invertebrate species occur at different tidal heights; the zone of peak abundance of Hydrobia ulvae is at M.H.W.N. (+8 ft O.D.) and of Macoma balthica between this and +6 ft O.D. (2) Knot feed at a lower shore level than that at which the peak abundance of the invertebrates occur, although knot are found in areas where quite high populations of Macoma and Tellina tenuis occur. (3) The species taken by knot are closely related to their abundance, with Macoma, Hydrobia, or Mytilus edulis being dominant in different areas or in different seasons. There is a correlation between the variations in the diet of knot and the daily tidal cycle; this is due to the variations of shore level of feeding and the behaviour cycles of the prey. Knot exploit the most available food source. (4) The main prey species is Macoma which, on average, forms 80% of the volume of food ingested. Mytilus (13%) and Hydrobia (10%) are the main subsidiary foods. (5) Knot shows some degree of selection for the medium sized (6-14.9 mm) Macoma. These form 77% of the Macoma biomass ingested, whilst the numerically dominant size class of <6 mm forms only 17% of the Macoma ingested. The maximum size of Macoma taken is 16 mm.

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