Feeding ecology of the Kızılırmak toothcarp, Aphanius marassantensis: ontogenetic shift and seasonal diet variation


We studied the feeding ecology of an endemic cyprinodontid fish, Aphanius marassantensis (Kızılırmak Toothcarp), with special emphasis on seasonal and ontogenetic diet shift. The dietary composition revealed an omnivorous diet with great seasonal and ontogenetic variation. Cladocera and Calanoid Copepods (Diaptomus sp.) dominated the diet in Spring and Summer, whereas the food items of plant origin e.g. filamentous algae and diatoms were the most important components in Autumn and Winter. An ontogenetic diet shift was also demonstrated. While the feeding of juveniles was based mostly on planktonic organisms, adult individuals preferred larger prey taxa, such as Gammarus sp. and Gastropods. There was no significant sex-related variation in feeding with the exception for the volume of gut content. The investigation on the feeding strategy of A. marassantensis suggested a generalised feeding pattern with some specialised individuals. This generalist feeding habits may account for the well-established population of this species in a big reservoir under coexistence of two non-native fish species, Pseudorasbora parva and Atherina boyeri.

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The fish examined in this study were collected during samplings for a project on the life history and population dynamics of Pseudorasbora parva in the Hirfanlı Reservoir, financed by the Turkish Scientific and Technical Researches Institution (Code: TUBITAK-107O718). We would also like to thank to anonymous reviewers for their corrections and recommendation that improved the manuscript.

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Correspondence to Baran Yoğurtçuoğlu.

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Fish collections were approved and granted by the Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Livestock, General Directorate of Fisheries and Aquaculture (Codes for the protocols: B.12.0.KKG.0.17/106.01–11-01 and 76000869/150–4199). All applicable international, national, and/or institutional guidelines for the care and use of animals were followed.

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Yoğurtçuoğlu, B., Kirankaya, Ş.G., Gençoğlu, L. et al. Feeding ecology of the Kızılırmak toothcarp, Aphanius marassantensis: ontogenetic shift and seasonal diet variation. Environ Biol Fish 101, 1493–1502 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10641-018-0794-3

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  • Aphanius marassantensis
  • Feeding strategy
  • Hirfanlı reservoir
  • Anatolia
  • Diet composition