Nocturnal Foraging by Alewives in Reservoir Coves

Diel occurrence and feeding of alewives (Alosa pseudoharengus) in shoreline areas of Claytor Lake, Virginia was investigated concurrent with food habits of resident juvenile bluegill (Lepomis macrochirus) , pumpkinseed (L. gibbosus), and yeHow perch (Perca flavescens); and the composition and abundance of the littoral zooplankton community. Schools of alewives entered coves at sunset and fed intensively through the night, departing soon after sunrise. Alewives and juvenile fish consumed the same 16 items, but to different degrees. Alewives fed primarily on zooplankton in the water column, whereas the juvenile fish ate mostly epibenthic forms with which they were associated In the aquatic macrophyte/brush habitat. Alewife stomachs contained 9 to 30 times the volume and number of items as did those of juvenile fish. The hIgh foraging efficiency of alewives in large schools may result in trophic competition with littoral zooplanktivores despite partial resource partitioning.

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