Environmental Biology of Fishes

, Volume 52, Issue 1–3, pp 379–389 | Cite as

Feeding habits of largemouth bass in a non-native environment: the case of a small lake with bluegill in Japan

  • Mikio Azuma
  • Yasunari Motomura


Little is known about the ecology of largemouth bass, Micropterus salmoides in non-native environments. The stomach contents of a total of 381 bass ranging from 21 to 283 mm TL in a small lake in Japan were examined monthly from April to November 1992 by the ‘points’ method. The proportion of bass with empty stomachs increased in larger fish. The principal foods of the bass regardless of size consisted of two numerically dominant gobiids, the trident goby, Tridentiger obscurus, and paradise goby, Rhinogobius giurinus. The young-of-the-year (YOY) bass fed exclusively and selectively on the abundant young of paradise goby. As they grew, the bass also consumed fewer but larger trident goby. Bass of all sizes preferred these gobies from spring to autumn when several successive gobiid cohorts recruited from offshore and settled inshore. In contrast, YOY bluegill, Lepomis macrochirus, of 10-20 mm TL were selected only during summer. Bass switched from zooplanktivory to piscivory at 30-40 mm TL, much smaller than previously reported in their native range. Presumably because of the high availability and vulnerability of the gobies, the bass became piscivorous earlier and grew quickly. The gobies also allowed the bluegill to largely escape predation risk from the bass.

regurgitation gobiid fishes early appearance of piscivory food selectivity food availability ecological release 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References cited

  1. Adams, S.M., R.B. McLean M.M. Huffman. 1982. Structuring of a predator population through temperature-mediated effects on prey availability. Can. J. Fish. Aquat. Sci. 39: 1175–1184.Google Scholar
  2. Aggus, I., R. G.V. Elliott. 1975. Effects of cover and food on year-class strength of largemouth bass. pp. 317–322. In: R.H. Stroud H. Clepper (ed.) Black Bass Biology and Management, Sport Fishing Institute, Washington, D.C.Google Scholar
  3. Anderson, O. 1984. Optimal foraging by largemouth bass in structured environments. Ecology 65: 851–861.Google Scholar
  4. Azuma, M. 1992. Ecological release in feeding behaviour: the case of bluegills in Japan. Hydrobiologia 243/244: 269–276.Google Scholar
  5. Debets, H. 1954. Feeding habits of the largemouth bass as revealed by a gastroscope. Prog. Fish-Cult. 16: 134–136.Google Scholar
  6. Hambright, K.D. 1991. Experimental analysis of prey selection by largemouth bass: role of predator mouth width and prey body depth. Trans. Amer. Fish. Soc. 120: 500–508.Google Scholar
  7. Hickley, P., R. North, S.M. Muchiri D.M. Harper. 1994. The diet of largemouth bass, Micropterus salmoides, in Lake Naivasha, Kenya. J. Fish Biol. 44: 607–619.Google Scholar
  8. Howick, G.L. W.J. O'Brien. 1983. Piscivorous feeding behavior of largemouth bass: an experimental analysis. Trans. Amer. Fish. Soc. 112: 508–516.Google Scholar
  9. Hoyle, J.A. A. Keast. 1987. The effect of prey morphology and size on handling time in a piscivore, the largemouth bass (Micropterus salmoides). Can. J. Zool. 65: 1972–1977.Google Scholar
  10. Hynes, H.B.N. 1950. The food of fresh-water sticklebacks (Gasterosteus aculeatus and Pygesteus pungitius), with a review of methods used in studies of the food of fishes. J. Anim. Ecol. 19: 36–58.Google Scholar
  11. Ivlev, V.S. 1961. Experimental ecology of the feeding of fishes. Yale University Press, New Haven. 302 pp.Google Scholar
  12. Keast, A. J.M. Eadic. 1985. Growth depensation in year-0 largemouth bass: the influence of diet. Trans. Amer. Fish. Soc. 114: 204–213.Google Scholar
  13. Lewis, W.M., G.E. Gunning, E. Lyles W.I. Bridges. 1961. Food choice of largemouth bass as a function of availability and vulnerability of food items. Trans. Amer. Fish. Soc. 90: 227–280.Google Scholar
  14. Lewis, W.M., R. Heidinger, W. Kirk, W. Chapman D. Johnson. 1974. Food intake of largemouth bass. Trans. Amer. Fish. Soc. 103: 277–280.Google Scholar
  15. Maehata, M. 1992. Food habits of largemouth bass in the southern basin of Lake Biwa. Ann. Rep. Biwako Bunkakan 10: 1–8 (in Japanese).Google Scholar
  16. Miranda, L.E. 1986. Removal of stomach contents from live largemouth bass using hydrogen peroxide. North Amer. J. Fish. Manag. 6: 285–286.Google Scholar
  17. Mittelbach, G.G. 1981. Foraging efficiency and body size: a study of optimal diet and habitat use by bluegills. Ecology 62: 1370–1386.Google Scholar
  18. Mittelbach, G.G. 1986. Predator-mediated habitat use: some consequences for speeies interactions. Env. Biol. Fish. 16: 159–169.Google Scholar
  19. Nakai, Z. 1962. Apparatus for collecting macroplankton in the spawning surveys of Iwashi (sardine, anchovy, and round herring and others). Bull. Tokai Reg. Fish. Res. Lab. 9: 221–237.Google Scholar
  20. Osenberg, C.W., M.H. Olson G.G. Mittelbach. 1994. Stage structure in fish: resource productivity and competition gradients. pp.151–170. In: D.J. Stouder, K.I., Fresh R.J. Feller (ed.) Theory and Application in Fish Feeding Ecology, University of South Carolina Press, Columbia.Google Scholar
  21. Paragamian, V.L. 1978. Food habits of largemouth bass (Micropterus salmoides) at Big Creek Lake. Proc. Iowa Acad. Sci. 85: 31–34.Google Scholar
  22. Ricker, W.E. 1975. Computation and interpretation of biological statisties of fish populations. Bull. Fish. Res. Board Can. 191:1–382.Google Scholar
  23. Savino, J.F. R.A. Stein. 1982. Precator-prey interaction between largemouth bass and bluegills as influenced by simulated, submersed vegetation. Trans. Amer. Fish. Soc. 111: 255–266.Google Scholar
  24. Savino, J.F. R.A. Stein. 1989. Behavior of fish predators and their prey: habitat choice between open water and dense vegetation. Env. Biol. Fish. 24: 287–293.Google Scholar
  25. Shelton, W.L., W.D. Davies, T.A. King T.J. Timons. 1979. Variation in the growth of the initial year class of largemouth bass in West Point Reservoir, Alabama and Georgia. Trans. Amer. Fish. Soc. 108: 142–149.Google Scholar
  26. Smagula, C.M. I.R. Adclman. 1982. Day-to-day variation in food consumption by largemouth bass. Trans. Amer. Fish. Soc. 111: 543–548.Google Scholar
  27. Storck, T.W. 1986. Importance of gizzard shad in the diet of largemouth bass in Lake Shelbyville, Illinois. Trans. Amer. Fish. Soc. 115: 21–27.Google Scholar
  28. Tsutsumi, H. M. Tanaka. 1987. A new method for measurement of body size and analysis of generation structure of population, using a micro-computer. Benthos Research 31: 18–28 (in Japanese).Google Scholar
  29. Werner, E.E. 1977. Species packing and niche complementarity in three sunfishes. Amer. Nat. 111: 553–578.Google Scholar
  30. Werner, E.E. D.J. Hall. 1988. Ontogenetic habitat shifts in bluegill: the foraging rate-predation risk trade-off. Ecology 69: 1352–1366.Google Scholar
  31. Wright, L.D. 1970. Forage size preference of the largemouth bass. Prog. Fish-Cull. 32: 39–42.Google Scholar
  32. Yamanaka, O. 1989. Report of collective surveys for measures against largemouth bass in 1985–1987. Sci. Rep. Shiga Pref. Fish. Exp. Sta. 40: 63–92 (in Japanese).Google Scholar
  33. Yoshizawa, K., Y. Takayanagi, M. Mogi. S. Kobayashi, K. Nobosawa, A. Sato, T. Ikeda M. Murata. 1980. Resource ecological studies on a warm water piscivore-IV. Feeding ecology of largemouth bass in Lake Haruna. Bull. Gunma Pref. Fish. Exp. Sta. 29: 32–45 (in Japanese).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mikio Azuma
    • 1
  • Yasunari Motomura
    • 2
  1. 1.Biological Laboratory, Faculty of EducationNagasaki UniversityNagasakiJapan
  2. 2.Kyushu Bunka Gakuen Senior High SchoolSaseboJapan

Personalised recommendations