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Wednesday, August 31, 2016

31/08/2016: Lesser salmon catfish feasting on mice

In an article written by Robin Wylie which was recently published onNewScientist, it was reported that lesser salmon catfish have been discovered feeding on mice. Apparently some catfish are known to ambush pigeons at the waters edge, earning the nickname of “freshwater killer whales”.

But the lesser salmon catfish might just be an opportunist, gobbling up animals when they drown. A survey of 18 lesser salmon catfish (Neoarius graeffei) from Ashburton river in northern Australia, suggests the fish can consume large quantities of small land animals when given the chance, almost half of the catfish had mice in their bellies.
 
Image: Tim Watts
“That is a lot, and a rare finding,” says Peter Lisi, an aquatic ecologist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Read more: Super-fast evolving fish splitting into two species in same lake The stomachs of some catfish contained as much as 95 per cent small mammals, with two fish having three animals each in their stomachs.

Lesser salmon catfish can grow to half a metre long and weigh up to 1.5 kilograms. They are a common species in dryland rivers of north-western Australia, so their diet is important to understanding the local ecosystems. They were thought to feed mainly on aquatic invertebrates and plants, with the occasional addition of fruit and terrestrial insects, especially during the floods in the wet season.
Read more HERE.

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