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Helgoland Marine Research

Open Access

On the biology and food of small-sized fish from North and Baltic Sea areas. IV. Investigations on an eulittoral mud flat at Sylt Island

  • C. Dieter Zander1 and
  • Eike Hartwig1
Helgoländer Meeresuntersuchungen198235:BF02289834

Published: 1 March 1982


The fish fauna of an eulittoral mud flat was investigated at Sylt Island (North Sea) with special regard to its food uptake. During the course of a year the following species were caught:Pomatoschistus microps, Anguilla anguilla (elvers),Zoarces viviparus, andGasterosteus aculeatus. Considering the potentially available food, the most abundant organisms of the benthos were harpacticoids and nematodes, whereas in the phytal layer gastropods and gammarids were dominant. The benthic biomass was found to be greatest in spring, while phytal organisms were most abundant in late summer. The greatest fish density was stated in September 1974 though onlyP. microps was present. The fish biomass was highest in spring when the elvers appeared. The main food ofP. microps was epibenthos; in the diet ofA. anguilla phytal organisms dominated over epibenthos, inG. aculeatus suprabenthic organisms were also present. The most prominent food component by biomass was gammarids in all investigated fish, whereas harpacticoids were only dominant in number. During the course of the year the biomass of ingested food yielded highest values in summer and autumn, but lowest in winter. A very great predatory activity was found in September 1974, which possibly caused a grazing effect on harpacticoids. An estimation of the turnover rate of small-sized fish in this month led to a value of 70 mg dry weight m−2 · d−1.