Feeding ecology and presence of microplastics in the digestive tract of the Haller's round ray (Urobatis haller)

Inês Pinho

Elasmobranchs are mainly represented as high trophic level organisms in trophic webs, but individualised studies are still lacking and our understanding about their involvement is very poor. Microplastics have been reported in the digestive system of elasmobranchs and its presence can influence whole foods webs. This modern issue and the feeding ecology of elasmobranchs are still very understudied, especially for the Urobatis halleri species. 

In this study, the digestive content of the Haller’s round ray individuals was analysed for the presence of prey and microplastics. The results, which were mostly valid for juveniles, showed that this is an opportunist and generalist species and the preferred prey are crustaceans followed by bony fish. Microplastics were also found in their digestive system, making the Haller’s round ray vulnerable to the contamination of plastic debris.