Emerald shiner (Notropis atherinoides) and spottail shiner (N. hudsonius) were abundant historically in western Lake Erie. Recent changes in the fish community suggest that shiners may not compete favorably with the invading white perch (Morone americana) or the gizzard shad (Dorosoma cepedianum). We examined the diets of emerald and spottail shiner and compared them to other planktivores in western Lake Erie. Emerald and spottail shiner ate cladocerans such as Daphnia spp., Leptodora, and Bythotrephes. Biologically significant overlaps (Schoener 1970 index a?Y 0.6) among zooplanktivores occurred from July through September, but most occurred during July. The frequency of significant diet overlaps among planktivores declined since an earlier study in the mid-1970s (Muth and Busch 1989) possibly indicating that competitive interactions have eased since 1975. In addition to competitive interactions, other factors such as increased eutrophication and predator mediated mortality likely played a role in planktivore community changes since the early 1970s.
Additional publication details
Diets of emerald and spottail shiners and potential interactions with other western Lake Erie planktivorous fishes