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We examined food habits and scale annuli of freshwater drum (Aplodinotus grunniens) from western Lake Erie to determine whether increasing predation on zebra mussels (Dreissena polymorpha) had affected growth of freshwater drum. The volume of zebra mussels in drum guts was greater in older fish. Growth of age classes 3-4, which consumed few zebra mussels, was greater in the most productive year for zebra mussels, July 1990 - August 1991, than in three prior years. The total lengths of 5-year-old drum changed little. The mean total length of 6-year-old females has declined since the zebra mussel invaded Lake Erie, even through mussels comprised more than two-thirds of gut samples in these fish. These studies suggest that zebra mussels may not benefit freshwater drum when serving as a staple in the diet.
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The effect of zebra mussel consumption on growth of freshwater drum in Lake Erie