Feeding Habits of Red Drum (Sciaenops ocellatus) in Galveston Bay, Texas: Seasonal Diet Variation and Predator-Prey Size Relationships




Scharf, Frederick S. and Kurtis K. Schlicht

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Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission


The diet, feeding habits, and predator size/prey size relationships of red drum (Sciaenops ocellatus) were investigated in Galveston Bay, Texas through stomach contents analysis. Over 500 red drum ranging from 300-763 mm total length were collected and analyzed during fall and spring seasons. The diet of red drum was fairly heterogeneous, and was dominated by Penaeid shrimp (Penaeus setiferus and P. aztecus) and the blue crab (Callinectes sapidus). Taken collectively, teleost fishes were also a large component of red drum diet, although no single species had a high relative importance. Contingency table analysis indicated that significant differences existed in prey types consumed by red drum between seasons, which were likely a result of seasonal variation in prey availability. Our findings indicate that red drum feed on several prey species of commercial and recreational value in Galveston Bay and may have important effects on estuarine community structure.


pgs. 235-238


diets, feeding behavior, predators, stomach content, red drum, sciaenops ocellata, penaeid shrimp, penaeus setiferus, penaeus aztecus, blue crab, callinectes sapidus, teleosts, community composition, seasonal variations, regression analysis, mathematical analysis