Summer food habits of pumpkinseeds (Lepomis gibbosus) and bluegills (Lepomis macrochirus) in Presque Isle Bay, Lake Erie

Andraso, G.M.

Journal of Great Lakes Research 31(4): 397-404


ISSN/ISBN: 0380-1330
DOI: 10.1016/s0380-1330(05)70271-9
Accession: 012601121

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Zebra mussels (Dreissena polymorpha) and quagga mussels (D. bugensis) have received much attention since they were first reported in the Great Lakes. Predation by fishes may be an important factor in regulating dreissenid populations, but the extent to which fish prey on them is not entirely clear. Pumpkinseeds (Lepomis gibbosus) are known to be effective predators of mollusks, but bluegills (Lepomis macrochirus) do not generally prey heavily on mollusks. Analysis of stomach contents of pumpkinseeds and bluegills collected from Presque Isle Bay of Lake Erie (Erie, Pennsylvania) revealed considerable differences in the diets of the two species. Specifically, dreissenids were the most important food item in the diet of pumpkinseeds and composed 63% of the volume of their diet. In contrast, dreissenids were relatively unimportant in the diet of bluegills and composed only 2.3% of the volume of their diet. Although bluegills and pumpkinseeds differed considerably in their consumption of dreissenids and other prey items, no clear differences in PCB concentrations were detected between the two species. Thus bluegills must acquire most of their PCBs from prey other than dreissenids.