Date of Original Version
We developed models to estimate the soft tissue content of benthic marine invertebrates that are prey for aquatic wildlife. Allometric regression models of tissue wet weight with shell length for 10 species of benthic invertebrates had r2 values ranging from 0.29 for hermit crabs Pagurus longicarpus to 0.98 for green crabs Carcinus maenas. As a class, bivalves had the highest r2 values (0.84) and crustaceans the lowest (0.48). Energy and nutrient content of soft tissue is also presented for the 10 benthic species. The energy content was lowest in crabs, and ranged within 2.20–4.71 kcal g-1 dry weight. Fat content was highly variable (range: 3.5–16.0%), and protein content ranged within 43.1–68.1% and was highest for shrimp Palaemonetes pugio. Comparison between classes of organisms of the amount of soft tissue per unit shell length showed that crustaceans yield five times more soft tissue per unit shell length than bivalves, and four times more than gastropods. The models we present use simple measures, such as the length of shell or wet weight of the entire animal, to quantitatively estimate the amount of available soft tissue in benthic prey that are usually consumed in total (with shell and soft tissue intact) but for which only the soft tissue is used for nutritional gain. This information can be combined with energy and nutrient content data to calculate energy or nutrient based carrying capacities that can help assess available resources for shorebirds, waterfowl and marine mammals.
McKinney, R. A., Glatt, S. M., & Williams, S. R. (2004). Allometric length-weight relationships for benthic prey of aquatic wildlife in coastal marine habitats. Wildlife Biology, 10(1), 241-249. doi: 10.2981/wlb.2004.029
Available at: https://doi.org/10.2981/wlb.2004.029