Preliminary investigation on feeding habits and gonad maturation in North Adriatic wild turbot (Scophthalmus maximus L.).
The gut contents and gonadal maturation status of turbot caught in the north Adriatic Sea between September and November 2002 were analysed. It was shown that turbot diet was composed of fish and crustaceans such as Merluccius merluccius and gobiids, while Trigla spp. and flatfishes were consumed less frequently. Prawns and shrimps (Penaeus kerathurus and P. longirostris), squids (Squilla mantis) and crabs (Geryon longipes) were the most important items in the diet of large turbot and the gut of females was full and with a higher repletion index than males. Immature ovaries were found in September, while more developed ones with visible oocytes in the previtellogenic stage were observed in females caught in November. The testes of males contained only undifferentiated gonocytes and oogonia. This study provides data on the natural diet and breeding season of wild turbot that would be useful in maintaining wild broodstock in captivity.