Feeding groups (Gozo & Malta)


Feeding groups

Gozo & MaltaAtlantic SpeciesFeeding Groups

Description: This is the behaviour where one species of fish feeds and is followed by other species seeking to pick up the scraps for a free meal. It is very common and you will see it often, both when diving and when snorkelling. It is easier to see over sandy habitats where Red mullet are often the most obvious species being followed, but it is also common in rocky habitats. If you are swimming over sand close to the bottom, look behind you and you may find fish following you, eating the animals you disturb from the sand. The different species of fish are extremely tolerant of one another in these situations.

The Peacock wrasse (see the first video clip), with Ornate wrasse and Rainbow wrasse actively following and picking up the bits the Peacock wrasse spits out; The Red mullet or Goat fish (see the 2nd the video clip), with Two banded bream and Rainbow wrasse feeding on the scraps; The Common stingray (see the 3rd part of the video clip) with flounders swimming round feeding on the animals that are disturbed. Other species that lead on the feeding include Striped bream and Octopus.

Fish that routinely follow include: White bream, Two banded bream, Rainbow wrasse, Ornate wrasse, Flounders and Stop fish (No. 47).

Text: Bob Earll
Photo: Julia Jagoditsch
Video: Bob Earll & Julia Jagoditsch

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