Publications: Peer-reviewed journal articles (by staff)

Laboratory investigations of the foraging behaviour of New Zealand scampi

2 October, 2017

Major RN, Ogilvie SC, Jeffs AG 2017. Laboratory investigations of the foraging behaviour of New Zealand scampi. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 497: 99-106.

DOI link here


The foraging behaviour of deep-water lobsters of the genus Metanephrops is poorly understood. Given the commercial importance of a number of these species, an understanding of their foraging behaviour would potentially enable the development of pots as a low impact fishing method. This study used a behavioural assay in a flow-through experimental tank to investigate the foraging behaviour of New Zealand scampi (Metanephrops challengeri) by quantifying the phases of chemically-mediated food search behaviour. New Zealand scampi were found to detect, search for, and reach natural bait treatments at significantly higher proportions compared to an inert control. However, no consistent differences were observed in the time taken for the scampi to complete each phase of chemically-mediated food search behaviour in response to the four bait treatments. These results show that New Zealand scampi use their chemosensory systems to find food in a way that is consistent with other lobsters, and that scampi potentially display plasticity in their feeding modes, as they would be active predators for crustaceans and molluscs, and generalist scavengers when they encounter tissue of common marine organisms and fish discarded from trawlers. There is the potential to apply these results to identify baits for a developing potting fishery for scampi as they indicate that a range of taxa may be used as bait, which would reduce the reliance of the fishery on bait products that are also suitable for human consumption.