Food and feeding habits of critically endangered bagrid catfish Hemibagrus punctatus (Jerdon, 1862) (Teleostei: Bagridae) in the Cauvery River, South India

Manickam RAJA, Pachiappan PERUMAL


The aim of the study was to investigate the variation in diversity and abundance of food items in Hemibagrus punctatus in relation to season and also to assess its food preference and feeding behaviour which may reflect the availability of prey items in upstream and downstream areas of Hogenakkal area under the Cauvery river systems. Through its stomach content analysis, the fish has been found to be omnivorous and euryphagous, with only a few qualitative differences in the diet. Feeding rate was found to vary in relation to monsoon caused environmental changes during the course of a year. Among the wide variety of prey consumed, juvenile fishes (39.88%) formed an important dietary component. The next major food group was insects (19.50%) followed by diatoms (11.54%), green algae (8.40%), crustaceans (7.29%), blue green algae (3.98%), plant matter (2.79%), worms (2.71%), copepods (1.33%), cladocerans (1.33%), and mollusks (1.33%). All the food items of this fish (% of food- composition) was found vary in monthly. The present findings would facilitate the examination of complex food and feeding regimes of fishes and would help identify the groups of species that use similar resources within a specific community and could also serve as a reference database for feeding ecology of fishes in highly impacted tropical habitats.


Siluriformes, Feeding ecology, Abundance, Preference, Tropical habitats.

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