Title

Foraging and prey selection by bluespotted sunfish Enneacanthus gloriosus (Holbrook) in backwater, vegetated ponds in coastal Mississippi

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

6-1-1999

Department

Marine Science

Abstract

Bluespotted sunfish are diurnal foragers in coastal Mississippi preying mainly on cyclopoid copepods, amphipods, cladocerans, chironomids, ostracods, and gastropods. Cyclopoid copepods, cladocerans, chironomid larvae and oligochaetes were collected in submersed aquatic vegetation (SAV)/SAV-associated sediments throughout the year but were most abundant in the warm (April-September) months. Ostracods, amphipods, and hydracarinids were also collected in SAV/SAV-associated sediments throughout the year but tended to be most abundant during fall, winter and early spring (October-April). Fish greater than or equal to 20 mm standard length (SL) selected 87.5% of the available prey from SAV/SAV-associated benthos compared to fish < 20 mm SL, which selected only 40%. Mean annual electivity values suggested random prey selection. The only obvious difference in diet was that fish greater than or equal to 20 mm SL consumed gastropods and amphipods while fish < 20 mm SL rarely consumed amphipods and never consumed gastropods. Bluespotted sunfish exhibit an opportunistic feeding behavior and apparently feed outside the SAV when small but shift into SAV as they grow.

Publication Title

JOURNAL OF FRESHWATER ECOLOGY

Volume

14

Issue

2

First Page

187

Last Page

196

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