Yearling rock bass (Ambloplites rupestris), pumpkinseeds (Lepomis gibbosus), macroinvertebrates, and submersed aquatic plants were sampled at 2- or 3- week intervals from June to October 1979 in a shallow, heavily vegetated embayment in Lake St. Clair to determine whether seasonal changes in plant canopy and plant taxonomic composition affected resource partitioning in these two fish species. In both species, numbers of prey and gut volumes increased with increasing plant canopy until the plant canopy reached a seasonal maximum in mid-summer. Rock bass consumed fewer, larger prey than pumpkinseeds while large Caenidae-Trichoptera-Coenagrionidae, the prey group most perferred by rock bass, was available. Pumpkinseeds ate smaller amphipods, gastropods, and chironomid-lepidopterans that were more abundant numerically than Caenidae-Trichoptera-Coenagrionidae. After mid-summer, the plant canopy declined slowly to one-half of the maximum value, but built up densities of Hyalella azteca, gastropods, and chironomid-lepidopterans kept availability of prey high throughout late summer. Rock bass shifted to Gammarus, gastropods, and chironomid-lepidopterans as large Caenidae-Trichoptera-Coenagrionidae became scarce. Pumpkinseeds ate more prey in the late season and displayed no prey preference. Their gut volumes peaked in September. Apparently, increasing combined canopy of bushy plants and Heteranthera dubia hindered the foraging of rock bass more than that of pumpkinseeds and caused resource partitioning in the two species.
Additional publication details
Effect of submersed aquatic macrophytes on resource partitioning in yearling rock bass (Ambloplites rupestris) and pumpkinseeds (Lepomis gibbosus) in Lake St. Clair