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Keywords:

  • carbon;
  • gut contents;
  • nitrogen;
  • predator-prey;
  • trophic ecology;
  • trophically transmitted parasites

The diets of 99 pumpkinseed sunfish Lepomis gibbosus from a pair of small, adjacent lakes in Ontario, Canada, were estimated from their stomach contents, trophically transmitted parasites and stable isotopes of carbon and nitrogen in fish tissue. The three methods provided virtually unrelated information. There was no significant correlation in the importance of any prey item across all three methods. Fish with similar diets according to one method of estimating diet showed no tendency to be similar according to other methods. Although there was limited variation in fish size and the spatial scale of the study was small, both fish size and spatial origin showed comparatively strong associations with diet data obtained with all three methods. These results suggest that a multidisciplinary approach that accounts for fish size and spatial origins is necessary to accurately characterize diets of individual fish.