Environmental Biology of Fishes

, Volume 72, Issue 3, pp 251–257

Ontogenetic changes in morphology and diet in the snakehead, Channa limbata, a predatory fish in western Thailand

  • Belinda M.S. Ward-Campbell
  • F. William H.  Beamish

DOI: 10.1007/s10641-004-1744-9

Cite this article as:
Ward-Campbell, B.M. & Beamish, F.W. Environ Biol Fish (2005) 72: 251. doi:10.1007/s10641-004-1744-9


We examined the diet of Channa limbata, a predatory fish from western Thailand, in relation to mass, mouth and body morphology and intestine length. The cluster analysis we performed on the prey-specific abundance values of the dietary items yielded four size-classes based on diet. There was a shift from detritus and smaller benthic invertebrates in the diet of the first size class, to a mainly piscivorous diet in the fourth size-class as well as a steep increase in mass at the onset of piscivory. We found no significant change in relative intestine length with ontogeny, and the average relative intestine length value for C. limbata indicated primarily carnivorous feeding habits throughout ontogeny. Ontogenetic changes in mouth dimensions account primarily for the shift in diet, however the ontogenetic change in body morphology is of secondary importance.


ecomorphologyfeeding ecologyontogenypiscivory

Copyright information

© Springer 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Belinda M.S. Ward-Campbell
    • 1
  • F. William H.  Beamish
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of BiologyBurapha UniversityChonburiThailand