Debris ingestion by carnivorous consumers: Does the position in the water column truly matter?
The hypothesis that carnivorous consumers associated with the seabed are more likely to ingest marine debris was tested based on stomach content analysis of fish(Trichiurus lepturus and species of Ariidae) and cetaceans (Sotalia guianensis and Pontoporia blainvillei). Among 596 stomach contents, only 22 (3.7%) contained debris. The debris was flexible plastic, nylon yard, paper, latex, styrofoam and cigarettefilter. The proportion of stomach contents with debris varied among species: P. blainvillei (pelagic demersal consumer) presented the highest frequency of ingestion(15.7%), while T. lepturus (pelagic consumer), S. guianensis (pelagic consumer) and Ariidae (demersal consumer) presented similar frequencies (1.3–1.8%). Therefore, a feeding site in the water column does not predict the probability of debris ingestion. Concerning these species, this probability seems to be more associated with prey-capture strategies (or feeding behavior), regardless of debris availability in the environment.