Feeding habits of Schizothorax oconnori Lloyd, 1908 in the Yarlung Zangbo River, Tibet



Seasonal, ontogenetic and sexual feeding habits of Schizothorax oconnori in the Yarlung Zangbo River were studied using percentages by number, weight and index of relative importance (IRI). The Schoener overlap index was applied to compare diets related to season, fish size and sex. The feeding intensity exhibited seasonal trends, with a minimum food intake in summer. Overall, 103 prey taxa belonging to seven prey categories (diatoms, green algae, cyanophytes, other algae, small invertebrates, macroinvertebrates and remains) were identified in 136 guts. Highest feeding diversity and evenness were recorded in summer, while lowest values of both indices occurred in autumn. S. oconnori fed almost exclusively on periphyton. Diatoms were the most important prey in terms of number, weight and IRI, followed by macroinvertebrates; other prey were also occasionally ingested. S. oconnori is a generalized and opportunistic feeder relying upon a wide trophic spectrum, but mainly feeds on diatoms as they are the most prevalent periphyton. There were high diet overlaps among seasons, fish sizes and between sexes. S. oconnori showed no dietary preference for any of the other prey available in the periphyton community.