, Volume 63, Issue 4, pp 466-476

Size- and depth-dependent variation in habitat and diet of the common carp (Cyprinus carpio)

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The habitat and diet variation of the common carp (Cyprinus carpio) were studied in Lake Banyoles (Catalonia, Spain). Carp was the second most abundant species offshore and used more the littoral in spring and deep bottoms in winter. The diet of carp was based on detritus, amphipods (Echinogammarus sp.), phantom midge larvae (Chaoborus flavicans), diatom mucilages, and plant debris. Amphipods and phantom midge larvae were much more important in diet than previous studies found, because of their greater availability in this lake. Among the carp inhabiting deep waters, there was size-dependent variation in diet, with smaller carp selecting more meiobenthos (cladocerans, ostracods, and small chironomids) and larger carp preying on profundal macrobenthos (phantom midge larvae and large chironomids). Roach (Rutilus rutilus) and carp dominated in abundance the non-littoral zone of the lake and showed resource partitioning, with roach being a more efficient zooplanktivore and carp being more able to prey on hard material (plant seeds, mollusks, and ostracods).

Received 5 July 2000; revised manuscript accepted 13 November 2000.