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With the exception of top predators, the distinction between predators and prey is largely artificial. The group of species included here as forage species are those which are the prey of the important commercial species in the LAPE area. In some cases there are directed fisheries for these species as well, but for the most part they are too small or otherwise of no interest to fisheries.

The small pelagic fishes are split into a coastal and an offshore component. The offshore group includes some of the same species as the inshore group as well as juveniles of a variety of pelagic, reef or coastal predators. An important distinction is the absence of any fisheries directed at the offshore component.

 

Functional group 20: Small offshore pelagics
Examples of the small offshore pelagics identified on the ecosystem survey conducted by the LAPE project included:

Longfin cigarfish Cubiceps gracilis
Man-of-war fish Nomeus gronovii
Pilotfish Naucrates ductor
Atlantic bumper Chloroscombrus chrysurus
Mackerel scad Decapterus macarellus
Round scad Decapterus punctatus
Bigeye scad Selar crumenophthalmus

 

Functional group 21: Small coastal pelagics
This group is made of mostly small schooling species found in near-shore waters. They are fished with beach seines for both human consumption and increasingly as a source of bait for large pelagic

Atlantic bumper

Chloroscombrus chrysurus

Mackerel scad Decapterus macarellus
Round scad Decapterus punctatus
Bluntnose jack Hemicaranx amblyrhynchus
Bigeye scad Selar crumenophthalmus
Threadfin scad Dorosoma petenense
False herring Harengula clupeola
Redear herring Harengula humeralis
Scaled herring Harengula jaguana
Spratt Harengula pensacolae
Dwarf round herring Jenkinsia lamprotaenia
Atlantic thread herring Opisthonema oglinum
American coastal pellona Pellona harroweri
Yellowfin herring Pliosteostoma lutipinnis
Round sardinella Sardinella aurita
Brazilian sardinella Sardinella brasiliensis
Broad-striped anchovy Anchoa hepsetus
Little anchovy Anchoa parva
Common halfbeak Hyporhamphus unifasciatus
Sargassum pelagicus Syngnathus pelagicus
Balao halfbeak Hemiramphus balao
Ballyhoo Hemiramphus brasiliensis
American harvestfish Peprilus paru

 

Functional group 22: Small mesopelagic fish
This is a large and taxonomically heterogenous group. The dominant groups are the orders Myctophiformes and Stomiiformes. Virtually all are small, black and difficult to identify. Most species bear light emitting organs and many make daily vertical migrations from below 400m in the day to near surface at night. Species with no common names have the family common name in parentheses.

(lanternfish)

Diaphus dumerilii

Topside lanternfish Notolychnus valdiviae
(lanternfish) Lepidophanes guentheri
(lanternfish) Lampanyctus alatus
Warming's lanternfish Ceratoscopelus warmingi
Sloane’s viperfish Chauliodus sloani
(bristlemouth) Manducus maderensis
Ribbon sawtail fish (dragonfish) Idiacanthus fasciola
Lovely hatchetfish Argyropelecus aculeatus
(dragonfish) Heterophotus ophistoma

 

Functional group 23: Large mesopelagic fish
This is a large and taxonomically heterogenous group. Many of these species make daily vertical migrations from below 400m in the day to near surface at night.

Snake mackerel

Gempylus serpens

Longnose lancetfish Alepisaurus ferox
Oilfish Ruvettus pretiosus
Atlantic pomfret Brama brama



Functional group 26: Small squid
Families of squid which reach adult sizes less than 50cm mantle length, e.g. Gonatidae.

Functional group 27: Large squid
Families of squid which reach adult sizes of greater than 50cm mantle length e.g. Architeuthidae or Onychoteuthidae

Functional group 28: Small zooplankton
This is a large and taxonomically heterogenous group of plankton species, defined in terms of size as micro- or meso-plankton (<4cm). The largest fraction of the group is crustaceans, in particular copepods.

Functional group 29: Large zooplankton
This is a large and taxonomically heterogenous group of plankton species, defined in terms of size as macro-plankton (>4cm). Important components of this group include large crustaceans (e.g. euphausiids and shrimp) and jellyfish.

 
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