Selection for brown shrimp, Penaeus aztecus, as prey by the spotted seatrout, Cynoscion nebulosus.
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Prey selection by spotted seatrout (Cynoscion nebulosus) (160-210 mm TL) was examined in the laboratory to provide information on predator-prey interactions in estuarine systems. In tanks without an accessible substrate for burrowing, seatrout fed exclusively on brown shrimp (Penaeus aztecus) and did not eat juvenile spot (Leiostomus xanthurus). In tanks with a sand substrate, some spot were eaten, but selection for brown shrimp was still significant. Burrowing by shrimp into the substrate apparently reduced their availability to the predators. Prey ranged in size from 59 to 85 mm (TL), and seatrout selected shrimp and fish within the lower half of this size range. In a separate feeding trial, spotted seatrout selected juvenile spot over juvenile pinfish (Lagodon rhomboides).