Round gobies (Neogobius melanostomus), after successfully reproducing in the early 1990s, decimated populations of mottled sculpins (Cottus bairdi) and possibly logperch (Percina caprodes) in the St. Clair River. Studies were conducted during 1994 to determine whether diets of round and tubenose (Proterorhinus marmoratus) gobies overlapped with those of native forage fishes. In the nearshore zone (depth a?? 1 m), round and tubenose gobies, logperch, and rainbow darters (Etheostoma caeruleum) of similar sizes (total lengths < 75 mm) consumed mainly small-sized macroinvertebrates (dipterans, Caenis, and amphipods) during June 1994. Logperch and rainbow darters were present in the nearshore zone only during this month. At the crest of the channel slope (depth = 3 m), round gobies and northern madtoms (Noturus stigmosus) ate mostly ephemeropteran nymphs (Hexagenia and Baetisca), while predation on zebra mussels (Dreissena polymorpha) and other mollusks by round gobies was minimal. Northern madtoms did not feed on mollusks. Diet overlap between round gobies and native fishes was not observed at the channel slope (depth = 5 m and 7 m) due to heavy predation on mollusks by round gobies. Young-of-the-year (YOY) round gobies migrated to deeper water in autumn and became prey of mottled sculpins and northern madtoms. Eggs and YOY of mottled sculpins may have become vulnerable to predation by both round gobies and native fishes in deeper waters since adult mottled sculpins were apparently confined to the channel with limited home range because aggressive round gobies occupied preferred shallow habitat, including spawning sites.
Additional publication details
Diets and diet overlap of nonindigenous gobies and small benthic native fishes co-inhabiting the St. Clair River, Michigan