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Diets and length-weight relationships of Lake Ontario alewife (Alosa pseudoharengus) in 1972 differed from those in 1988; the large cladoceran Bythotrephes cederstroemi colonized the lake during the mid-1980's. Microcrustacean zooplankton were the dominant prey of alewife during April-October in 1972 and 1988. Although Bythotrephes was not found in 1988 net samples, it replaced other zooplankters in the alewife's diet. Typically, tailspines were the only part of Bythotrephes in alewife stomachs; their frequency was high in April-May, diminished rapidly in summer, and was very low by fall. In spring 1988, alewife a?Y 165 mm were in better condition than in spring 1972, and this may have been due to larger fish feeding more heavily on Bythotrephes. Variation in diet among widely separated sampling was due to differences in alewife abundance, stability of thermal structure, progress of zooplankton community development, and distance to the mouth of the Niagra River (through which Bythotrephes probably enter the lake in summer and fall). In the Great Lakes, inter- and intralake differences in diet clearly exist, and these must be incorporated into models of alewife planktivory to gain an accurate understanding of energy flow between trophic levels.
Additional Publication Details
Food of the alewife (Alosa pseudoharengus) in Lake Ontario before and after the establishment of Bythotrephes cederstroemi
Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences