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Fish assemblage of a traditional fishery and the seasonal variations in diet of its most abundant species Wallago attu (Siluriformes: Siluridae) from a tropical floodplain

Islam, Md. Shahidul, Rahman, Mohammed Mokhlesur, Halder, Govinda Chandra, Tanaka, Masaru
Aquatic ecology 2006 v.40 no.2 pp. 263-272
Amblypharyngodon mola, Glossogobius, Heteropneustes fossilis, Mastacembelus armatus, Mystus, Puntius, Wallago attu, diet, fish, fish communities, fisheries, floodplains, macroalgae, piscivores, seasonal variation, shrimp, stigma, stomach, Bangladesh
The fish assemblage of a traditional Kata fishery and the stomach contents of Wallago attu were studied over a period of one year from a large floodplain system in Bangladesh. A total of 19 species of fish and 2 species of shrimp were recorded. W. attu (9.7–17.8%), Mystus vittatus (6.0–11.3%), M. aor (5.0–12.1%), Amblypharyngodon mola (4.4–9.3%) and Mastacembelus armatus (3.5–10.5%) dominated the catch. W.␣attu occupied the top position in abundance throughout the year, followed by M. vittatus and M. aor. Bagridae, Siluridae and Cyprinidae were three major families that contributed respectively 21.0, 17.4 and 16.1% of the total catch. Considerable seasonality was observed in the abundance of different fishes. A total of 14 different prey items were recorded, belonging to three major groups (fish, prawn and plant matters). The fish fed on at least eight species of small fishes (A. mola, M. vittatus, M. cavasius, Puntius stigma, P. ticto, Puntius sp., Glossogobius guris, and Heteropneustes fossilis) and some other unidentified small fishes. Other major prey items were small prawn, fish and prawn remains, and macroalgae. A. mola was the most important food item, contributing 23.7% of the total amount of diet by weight and 19.9% by frequency of occurrence. A. mola was followed by unidentified small prawn (13.7%), M. vittatus (13.1%), and unidentified small fishes (8.8%) by weight and by unidentified small fishes (15.9%), fish remains (12.5%), and M.␣vittatus (12.3%) by occurrence. Of the major diet categories, fish contributed 74.3% of the total diet by weight and 80.9% by occurrence, prawn contributed 18.5% by weight and 11.0% by occurrence and plants contributed 7.2% by weight and 8.1% by occurrence. A. mola and small shrimps were positively selected by W. attu. We concluded that W. attu is a piscivorous predator with potential impacts on prey fish communities; we also hypothesized that a specialized food-web based on the Kata fishery exists in and around the Katas which is of particular ecological significance.