Diet Composition of Stunted Catfish Populations in Louisiana

Diet composition was investigated in 3 channel catfish (lctalurus punctatus) populations in southeastern Louisiana, 2 of which were characterized by slow growth and reduced length at maturity. Multivariate analyses revealed that diets of catfish exhibiting slow growth were predominantly composed of marine prey. particularly engraulids, Corophium sp., and Penaeus sp., and were superior in quantity, diversity, and apparent nutritional value compared to diets of faster growing catfish from the Atchafalaya Basin. Slow growth and early maturity at reduced lengths did not appear to be forage-related, and may instead have reflected impacts of mesohaline conditions in coastal lakes.

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