Environmental Biology of Fishes

, Volume 72, Issue 3, pp 251-257

First online:

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

  • Belinda M.S. Ward-CampbellAffiliated withDepartment of Biology, Burapha University Email author 
  • , F. William H.  BeamishAffiliated withDepartment of Biology, Burapha University

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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.


ecomorphology feeding ecology ontogeny piscivory