Feeding Habits Of Catfishes In Barkley And Kentucky Lakes

Indices of relative importance and forage ratios are presented for food items of channel (/cta!urus punctatus) and blue catfishes (I. furcatus) collected from two large impoundments in western Kentucky. Data reported include samples collected from September 1977 to April 1978. Young of the year catfishes from both lakes relied heavily on zooplankton and aquatic insects. Other food items which were seasonally important included debris, trichopterans, bryozoans, and fish. Teleosts were the most important food items of intermediate sized (150-300 mm TL) catfishes in both lakes. Hexageniid mayflies were important to Kentucky Lake catfishes, but not to Barkley Lake catfishes; the converse was true of bryozoans. Omnivorous feeding habits characterized large harvestable (> 300 mm TL) catfishes. Food items of harvestable catfishes included fish, insect larvae, debris, and one deermouse (Peromyscus sp.); pelecypods occurred consistently in the diet of Barkley Lake catfishes. Diversity offood items in catfish diets may be affected by the relative abundance of the 2 species in each lake. It is postulated that interactions between catfishes could alter availability and / or selection of food items.

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