Marine & Environmental Sciences Faculty Articles
Swordfish Xiphias gladius Diet in the Florida Straits
Bulletin of Marine Science
Diet, Florida, Stomach contents, Swordfish, Xiphias gladius
Swordfish Xiphias gladius inhabit the Florida Straits year-round and provide a significant role in the food web as top-level predators. However, little is known about the diet composition and thus ecological role of swordfish in Florida. This study investigated swordfish diet by analyzing stomach contents of 131 swordfish in the Florida Straits from April 2007 to December 2008. Identifiable species included 13 teleost species, 3 cephalopod species, and 1 crustacean species. Cephalopods dominated the swordfish diet by weight (72.4%) and number (69.9%), and ranked highest in importance in the diet by the index of relative importance (IRI; 81.5%). Teleosts occurred the most (99.1%) but represented the second highest importance in diet by weight (25.2%), number (26.3%), and IRI (17.6%). Illex sp. was the prey with the greatest dietary importance, followed by unidentifiable ommastrephid squids. Stomach fullness index values ranged from 0 (empty) to 8.98 (mean = 0.37). A positive significant correlation between swordfish length and prey length was found (r² = 0.104, P = 0.037), and no significant correlations were found between swordfish weight and prey weight (r² = −0.075, P = 0.065). This is the first study to report a comprehensive diet of swordfish inhabiting waters in the Florida Straits region and suggests swordfish may be opportunistic feeders, altering their diet when abundance or presence of prey changes.
Amy Marie Heemsoth, Amy Hirons, Caroline M. Collatos, and David Kerstetter. 2020. Swordfish Xiphias gladius Diet in the Florida Straits .Bulletin of Marine Science : 1 -20. https://nsuworks.nova.edu/occ_facarticles/1068.