Diet composition of chub, Squalius cephalus (Teleostei: Cyprinidae), in Lake Todurge, Sivas, Turkey
Digestive tract contents of 241 specimens captured between March 1998 and November 1999 were analysed using both qualitative and quantitative methods to determine diet composition and feeding habits of Squalius cephalus (L., 1758) inhabiting Lake Todurge, Turkey. Ages ranged from I to VI years; 60.6% of the fish were females, 39.4% males. The chub population appeared to consume a wide range of food items such as phytoplankton, zooplankton, nematodes, insects, fish, macrophytes, plant and animal detritus, whereby zooplankton (69.2%) predominated. Although individuals in the age I group preferred plankton (phytoplankton frequently; zooplankton infrequently), the older specimens (age groups IV, V and VI) behaved mostly as carnivores but also consumed some macrophytes. While there were no significant differences between diet compositions of males and females, seasonal changes were observed in frequency of occurrence, quality and quantity of consumption, and feeding activity. The chub specimens fed most heavily during spring (the pre-spawning period: March, April and May). Highest food volume (13.0 cm(3)) consumed was in May and the lowest in September (2.0 cm(3)) while also being correlated with temperature. All of the food items were found in the digestive tract (82.1% of the specimens examined over all seasons). Highest fullness (84.9%) was reached in autumn and the lowest during summer (79.8%).