The composition of essential fatty acids and biomarkers in the tissues of the blenny Salarias patzneri were compared to those in detritus and filamentous algae collected from S. patzneri territories in order to assess the relative contribution of these 2 resources to the diet. The ratio of 16:1 omega7/16:0 and percentage of 18:2 omega6 in S. patzneri body tissue and detritus was found to be significantly different to filamentous algae samples, suggesting that detritus was the major source of dietary lipids assimilated by S. patzneri. High levels of 16:1 omega7 in S. patzneri tissue and detritus relative to filamentous algae suggest that diatoms are an important component of detrital aggregates and S. patzneri diet. These results demonstrate that coral reef fishes assimilate detrital aggregates and confirm that detritus is a valuable dietary resource on coral reefs.
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