Food and Trophic Relationships of Four Mullet Fish (Mugilidae) in the Shatt Al-Arab River, Iraq
Keywords:Mullet fish, food habit, herbivorous, Shatt Al-Arab River, Iraq
Food composition and feeding relationships of four mullet species, Planliza abu, P. subviridis, P. klunzingeri and Osteomugil speigleri from the Shatt Al-Arab River, Iraq, were assessed during 2016-2017.Fish were captured by gill nets, cast net and electro-fishing. The index of relative importance (IRI%) of food item was determined by combined the frequency of occurrence and points methods. Monthly variations in feeding activity and intensity of all species were observed. All species were herbivorous and P. abu andÂ P. klunzingeri were considered non-specialized feeders, while P. subviridis and O. speigleri were low specialist feeders. P. abu fed mainly on diatoms (38.6%), high plants (21.7%), algae (15.9%), detritus (15.3%), fish eggs (6.9%) and zooplankton (1.6%).The diet of P. subviridis constituted from diatoms (42.2%), high plants (20.9%), detritus (17.7%), algae (15.9%), zooplankton (2.0%) and fish eggs (1.8%). P. klunzingeri fed mainly on diatoms (35.5%), high plants (29.3%), detritus (16.4%), algae (13.4%), fish eggs (4.1%) and zooplankton (2.4%). O. speigleri were consumed mainly diatoms (52.0%), detritus (17.8%), algae (16.6%), high plants (10.7%), zooplankton (2.5%) and fish eggs (2.4%).Similarity dendrogram among fish species based on their diet showed high significant overlaps among the mullet species. It means that these species might be in direct competition for food in the Shatt Al-Arab River.
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