Digestion rate, gut passage time and absorption efficiency in the Antarctic spiny plunderfish

The absolute gut evacuation rate (GER) (g day−1) of Harpagifer antarcticus increased with increasing ration mass, fish mass only influenced the absolute GER at a daily ration level of 0·3% wet fish mass (approximately a maintenance ration). The relative GER (% of meal fed day−1) was also affected differently by fish and ration mass depending on the relative ration level being fed; at rations of 0·7% wet fish mass or above the relative GER decreased with increasing fish or ration mass (in such a way that the absolute GER remained constant and unaffected by fish mass). At maintenance (0·3% wet fish mass) rations the relative GER was not affected by fish size or ration mass. Thus, there appears to be a ration threshold above which the digestion physiology alters. Mass-specific GER (% g fish−1 day−1) decreased with increasing fish mass. Within a set relative ration level (% wet fish mass) an increase in fish mass decreased the mass-specific GER. At a fixed ration mass, an increase in fish mass (i.e. a reduction in the ration expressed as % fish mass) resulted in a decrease in mass-specific GER. Gut evaluation time (GET) decreased and absorption efficiency (A) increased with increasing absolute GER. The effect of ration and fish mass on the absolute and relative GER followed the same pattern irrespective of the diet, however the A and GER (% day−1 and g day−1) were higher and the GET shorter when the fish were fed shelled krill rather than amphipods.


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Authors: Boyce, S.J., Murray, A.W.A., Peck, L.S.

1 January, 2000
Journal of Fish Biology / 57
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