Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Utilizing stomach content and faecal DNA analysis techniques to assess the feeding behaviour of largemouth bass Micropterus salmoides and bluegill Lepomis macrochirus.

Abstract

In this study, the feeding behaviour of the non-native invasive predatory fishes largemouth bass Micropterus salmoides and bluegill Lepomis macrochirus was studied in the Ezura River, a northern tributary of Lake Biwa, Japan. Prey composition was estimated based on visual examination of stomach contents and faecal DNA analysis to determine feeding habits of these predatory fishes. Stomach content analysis showed that native fishes (e.g. ayu Plecoglossus altivelis and gobies Rhinogobius spp.) and shrimps (e.g. Palaemon paucidens) were the major prey items for M. salmoides, while snails, larval Chironomidae and submerged macrophytes were the dominant prey items of L. macrochirus. Micropterus salmoides tended to select larger fish in the case of crucian carp Carassius spp., but smaller fishes in the case of P. altivelis and Rhinogobius spp. Faecal DNA analyses revealed prey compositions similar to those identified in predator stomach contents, and identified additional prey species not detected in stomach content inspection. This study demonstrated that both stomach content inspection and DNA-based analysis bear several inherent shortcomings and advantages. The former method is straightforward, although identification of species can be inaccurate or impossible, whereas the latter method allows for accurate species identification, but cannot distinguish prey size or stage. Hence, integration of morphology-based and DNA-based methods can provide more reliable estimates of foraging habits of predatory fishes.