Ontogenetic changes in morphology and diet in the snakehead, Channa limbata, a predatory fish in western Thailand Article Received: 25 January 2004 Accepted: 19 May 2004 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 Synopsis
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. Keywords ecomorphology feeding ecology ontogeny piscivory References Amundsen, P.-A., Gabler, H.-M., Staldvik, F.J. 1996 A new approach to graphical analysis of feeding strategy from stomach contents data–modification of the Costello(1990) method J. Fish Biol. 48 607 614 Google Scholar Boubée, J.A., Ward, F.J. 1997 Mouth gape, food size, and diet of the common smelt Retropinna retropinna (Richardson) in the Waikato River system, North Island, New Zealand New Zeal. J. Mar. Freshwater Res. 31 147 154 CrossRef Google Scholar Erickson, G.M., Lappin, A.K., Vliet, K.A. 2003 The ontogeny of bite-force performance in American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis) J. Zool. London 260 317 327 Google Scholar García-Berthou, E. 2002 Ontogenetic diet shifts and interrupted piscivory in introduced largemouth bass (Micropterus salmoides) Int. Rev. Hydrobiol. 87 353 363 Google Scholar Gregory, R., Guttman, H. 2002 Developing appropriate interventions for rice-fish cultures Edwards, P. Little, D.C. Demaine, H. eds. Rural Aquaculture CAB International,Oxon UK Google Scholar Hyslop, E.J. 1980 Stomach contents analysis–a review of methods and their application J. Fish Biol. 17 411 429 Google Scholar Keast, A. 1977 Mechanisms expanding niche width and minimizing intraspecific competition in two centrarchid fishes Evol. Biol. 10 333 395 Google Scholar Keast, A. 1985 The piscivore feeding guild of fishes in small freshwater ecosystems Environ. Biol. Fish. 12 119 129 Google Scholar Keast, A., Webb, D. 1966 Mouth and body form relative to feeding ecology in the fish fauna of a small lake, Lake Opinicon, Ontario J. Fish. Res. Board Can. 23 1845 1874 Google Scholar Kramer, D.L., Bryant, M.J. 1995 Intestine length in the fishes of a tropical stream: 2 Relationship to diet–the long and short of a convoluted issue. Environ. Biol. Fish. 42 129 141 Google Scholar Lee, P.G., Ng, P.K.L. 1994 The systematics and ecology of snakeheads (Pisces: Channidae) in Peninsular Malaysia and Singapore Hydrobiologia 285 59 74 Google Scholar Lima-Junior, S.E., Goitein, R. 2003 Ontogenetic diet shifts of a Neotropical catfish, Pimelodus maculatus (Siluriformes, Pimelodidae): An ecomorphological approach. Environ. Biol. Fish. 68 73 79 Google Scholar Lind, A.J., H.H. Welsh, Jr. 1994 Ontogenetic changes in foraging behaviour and habitat use by the Oregon garter snake, Thamnophis atratus hydrophilus Anim. Behav. 48 1261 1273 Google Scholar Livingston, R.J., Stoner, A.W. 1984 Ontogenetic patterns of diet and feeding morphology in sympatric sparid fishes from seagrass meadows Copeia 1984 174 187 Google Scholar McGarigal, K., Cushman, S., Stafford, S. 2000Multivariate Statistics for Wildlife and Ecology Research Springer-Verlag New York Inc. New York 283 Google Scholar Mittelbach, G.G. 1983 Optimal foraging and growth in bluegills Oecologia 59 157 162 Google Scholar Mittelbach, G.G., Persson, L. 1998 The ontogeny of piscivory and its ecological consequences Can. J. Fish. Aquat. Sci. 55 1454 1465 Google Scholar Musikasinthorn, P. 1998 Channa panaw, a new channid fish from the Irrawaddy and Sittang River basins, Myanmar Ichthyol. Res. 45 355 362 Google Scholar Nelson, J.S. 1994Fishes of the World John Wiley & Sons Inc. New York 600 Google Scholar Olson, M.H. 1996 Ontogenetic niche shifts in largemouth bass: variability and consequences for first-year growth Ecology 77 179 190 Google Scholar Polis, G.A. 1984 Age structure component of niche width and intra-specific resource partitioning: can age groups function as ecological species Am. Nat. 123 541 564 Google Scholar Ribble, D.O., Smith, M.H. 1983 Relative intestine length and feeding ecology of freshwater fishes Growth 47 292 300 Google Scholar Sainte-Marie, B., Chabot, D. 2002 Ontogenetic shifts in natural diet during benthic stages of American lobster (Homarus americanus), off the Magdalen Islands Fish. Bull. 100 106 116 Google Scholar
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