Feeding ecology and prey selection of European perch, Perca fluviatilis inhabiting a eutrophic lake in northern Turkey
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Feeding habits and prey selection of European perch (Perca fluviatilis) were examined in Lake Ladik between November 2009 and October 2010. Stomach contents of 308 individuals ranging in size from 73 to 275 mm total length were analyzed and 55.2% were empty. The fullness index indicated that feeding intensity of this species was the highest in summer and the lowest in winter. European perch feeds on prey fish and macroinvertebrates. The most important food items were Scardinius erythrophthalmus and Perca fluviatilis, followed by chironomidae larvae. Diet composition and feeding habits varied seasonally and ontogenetically. Macroinvertebrates were only consumed by small individuals, while prey fishes were only eaten by large individuals. S. erythrophthalmus, P. fluviatilis, and Blicca bjoerkna were positively selected but their selection indexes were not statistically significant (p > 0.05). This prey selection is important for combating eutrophication. Abramis brama constitute 24.03% of all fish species in this lake; however, it was a negatively selected prey item (V-a = -0.198, (2)= 7.86, p < 0.05). Esox lucius, Squalius cephalus, Chondrostoma regium, and Carassius gibelio inhabiting this lake were not preferred by European perch. Cannibalism rate was 12.3%.