PATTERNS IN THE DISTRIBUTION, DIET AND TROPHIC DEMAND OF THE HOGCHOKER, TRINECTES MACULATUS, IN THE CHESAPEAKE BAY, USA.
Curti, Kiersten Lynn
Miller, Thomas J
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The hogchoker, <i>Trinectes maculates</i> (Achiridae), is a small estuarine flatfish that, due to its ubiquitous distribution and substantial biomass, is an important component of the Chesapeake Bay ecosystem. I quantified the abundance, distribution and diet of hogchoker in the Bay based on samples from a fishery-independent survey. Hogchoker abundance varied inter-annually and spatially. A generalized additive model (GAM) explained 14.8% of the variability in the distribution of hogchoker abundance. Depth, salinity, temperature and year were significant determinants of hogchoker presence, whereas salinity and temperature determined relative abundance. Hogchoker diet primarily comprised polychaetes, however, amphipods, isopods and bivalve siphons also represented important dietary components. Graphical analyses and nonmetric multidimensional scaling indicated seasonal, spatial and ontogenetic variation in diet within the Bay. Estimates of summer trophic demand indicated that hogchoker consumed up to 0.1% of the standing stock biomass of particular macrobenthic taxa in the mainstem of the Chesapeake Bay.