Developments in the nutrition of Menidia estor Jordan 1880


Correspondence: C A Martínez-Palacios, Laboratorio de Acuicultura, Instituto de Investigaciones Agropecuarias y Forestales, UMSNH. Av. San Juanito Itzícuaro S/N, Col. San Juanito Itzícuaro, C.P. 58330, Morelia, Michoacán, México. E-mail:


The Mexican silverside, Menidia estor, is a species with great regional importance and with very high prices in local markets. Unfortunately, due to high fisheries pressure, environmental degradation and pollution, the species has become endangered. Recently, there has been much progress in the biotechnology of this species, aimed at its culture, and the present paper describes the advances in feeding and nutrition of those important fish. M. estor is a stomachless, zooplantophagous fish, which also occasionally feeds on small fish and crustaceans in the adult stage. Studies on the digestive enzymatic activities show high proteolytic capacity and a late or different model of digestive maturation from that described for marine stomach fish. Nutritional studies on M. estor have shown that juveniles have dietary requirements of about 400 g kg−1 protein and 80 mg kg−1 vitamin C. The upper level of dietary carbohydrate for good growth and survival for juveniles is about 150 g kg−1. Based on the high docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) content in flesh when fed on diets low in DHA, it is believed that the species has the capacity to biosynthetize >20-carbon fatty acids from 18-carbon fatty acids. The high levels of DHA in flesh makes this fish a very significant potential component of human nutrition. Using these findings the first practical diets for commercial culture of the species have been developed.