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Diets and Trophic Niches of an Amphibious Fish from Jaja Creek South Eastern, Nigeria
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Volume 8, 2020
Issue 2 (June)
Pages: 8-13   |   Vol. 8, No. 2, June 2020   |   Follow on         
Paper in PDF Downloads: 13   Since Dec. 22, 2020 Views: 74   Since Dec. 22, 2020
Nsikak Okon Abiaobo, Department of Zoology, Faculty of Biological Sciences, Akwa Ibom State University, Mkpat Enin, Nigeria.
IdopiseAbasi Ekpe Asuquo, Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture, Faculty of Agriculture, Akwa Ibom State University, Mkpat Enin, Nigeria.
Ifeanyi Ntasiobi Ejiogu, Department of Aquaculture, Nigerian Institute for Oceanography and Marine Research, Lagos, Nigeria.
Ukeme Joshua Umoren, Department of Zoology, Faculty of Biological Sciences, Akwa Ibom State University, Mkpat Enin, Nigeria.
The mudskipper, P. barbarus is a residential fish inhabiting the mudflats of the Niger Delta estuaries, and is economically viable as well as actively harvested by the local inhabitants of this area to whom it serves as a special delicacy. Its usage as bait to catch bigger fishes and application in traditional medicinal purposes due to its aphrodisiac values necessitated a research on aspects of its ecology for possible aquaculture exploitation. The study was carried out in Jaja creek Nigeria, West Africa. Monthly samples of the mudskipper were caught bi-monthly between June - November, 2019 with non-return valve basket traps set up for diurnal collection from mudflats of the mangrove swamp. They were preserved immediately in 10% formalin solution prior to laboratory procedure. A total of 600 mudskippers were analyzed. Each fish was dissected and the gut removed and preserved in 4% formalin solution. The gut of each fish was slit open with a scissor and the gut contents poured into a Petri dish, smeared with a few drops of water and the food items were identified macroscopically and microscopically to the nearest taxon. Analysis was carried out using numerical and frequency of occurrence methods respectively. The number of stomachs in which each food items occurred was sorted out and expressed as percentage of the total number of fish stomachs with food examined. The number of individual of each food item was counted and summed up to give the total of each food item, then the grand total of all items was calculated and expressed as percentage of the overall items found in each stomach. Feeding intensity was determined using Gut repletion index (GRI) and was calculated by dividing the number of non-empty guts by the total number of guts examined multiplied by 100. The gut contents revealed that the mudskipper fed on plants, animals and non-living matter as eight (8) major dietary compositions were identified. The dietaries were grouped into plant material (plants), crayfish, periwinkle, insect parts, snail and fish remains (animals), detritus and sand grains (non-living matter). Detritus was determined as the highest item ingested by the fish and plant materials were the lowest item ingested. 197 specimens recorded empty gut giving a gut repletion index (% GRI) of 67.17. Findings suggest that the wide variety of items occurring in the stomach of this fish species show that it is non-selective in feeding and is capable of utilizing many sources of food; and thus could be described as euryphagous.
Food, Feeding, Stomach, Dietaries, Gut
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