Food and Feeding Habits of Distichodus Species (Osteichthyes: Distichodontidae) in Anambra River Basin, Nigeria

The food and feeding habits of Distichodus rostratus, D. brevipinnis and D. engycephalus in Anambra river were studied over a period of 12 months. The stomach contents of 499 specimens were analysed using percentage number (%N) and percentage relative frequency (%RF) methods. The three species are omnivorous bottom and surface water feeders, feeding more on plant materials (seeds, fruits, grasses and filamentous green algae) than on food of animal origin (ants, insects and fish). The stomach fullness analysis showed that 57.3 ± 2.9% (53.8 – 59.5%) of the stomachs examined had food while 42.8 ± 2.9 % (40.8 – 46.2%) were empty. The species fed on the same kinds of food items in slightly varying degrees of % N and % RF. Raabe's coefficient factor (R = 81.0%, %RF; 60.7%, %N) indicated a high degree of similarity in the food preference of the species. The percentage full stomach and partially full stomachs were significantly higher in the rainy season than in the dry season (P<0.05) for all the species considering combined sex, male and female respectively, indicating seasonal variation in the feeding pattern of the species. Key Words: Distichodus species, food and feeding, Anambra river Bio-Research Vol.2(2) 2004: 1-6

 NM Inyang, CD Nwani