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Food habits of diving ducks in the Great Lakes after the zebra mussel invasion

Journal of Field Ornithology

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Abstract

Zebra mussels (Dreissena polymorpha) invaded the Great Lakes in the mid-1980s and quickly reached high densities. The objective of this study was to determine current consumption of zebra mussels by waterfowl in the Great Lakes region. Feeding Lesser Scaups (Aythya affinis), Greater Scaups (A. marila), Canvasbacks (A. valisineria), Redheads (A. americana), Buffleheads (Bucephala albeola) and Common Goldeneyes (B. clangula) were collected in western Lake Erie and in Lake St. Clair between fall and spring, 1992-1993 to determine food habits. All 10 Redheads, 97% of Lesser Scaups, 83% of Goldeneyes, 60% of Buffleheads and 9% of Canvasbacks contained one or more zebra mussels in their upper gastrointestinal tracts. The aggregate percent of zebra mussels in the diet of Lesser Scaups was higher in Lake Erie (98.6%) than in Lake St. Clair (54.4%). Zebra mussels (aggregate percent) dominated the diet of Common Goldeneyes (79.2%) but not in Buffleheads (23.5%), Redheads (21%) or Canvasbacks (9%). Lesser Scaups from Lake Erie fed on larger zebra mussels ( = 10.7 i?? 0.66 mm SE) than did Lesser Scaups from Lake St. Clair ( = 4.4 i?? 0.22 mm). Lesser Scaups, Buffleheads and Common Goldeneyes from Lake Erie consumed zebra mussels of similar size.

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Article
Publication Subtype:
Journal Article
Title:
Food habits of diving ducks in the Great Lakes after the zebra mussel invasion
Series title:
Journal of Field Ornithology
Volume
67
Issue:
1
Year Published:
1996
Language:
English
Description:
p. 86-99
Larger Work Type:
Article
Larger Work Subtype:
Journal Article
Larger Work Title:
Journal of Field Ornithology
First page:
86
Last page:
99
Number of Pages:
13