The diet of Chesapeake Bay striped bass, (Morone saxatilis) Walbaum, based on unpublished stomach content data from 916 fish collected between 1955 and 1959 was described. The diet in the late 1950s, quantified using an index of relative importance (IRI), was dominated by Atlantic menhaden, Brevoortia tyrannus Latrobe. Atlantic menhaden (66%) and bay anchovy, Anchoa mitchilli Valenciennes, (19%) had the highest IRI value overall. Small striped bass ( <600 mm total length) ate predominantly bay anchovy (IRI = 67%). Large striped bass (??? 600 mm total length) ate predominantly Atlantic menhaden (IRI = 93%). Since 1990 small striped bass rely more on invertebrate prey and larger fish now rely more on small pelagic prey, such as bay anchovy and 0-age clupeids. Analysis of historical data using current techniques provided a valuable tool for comparison to help in understanding the current striped bass predator-prey relationship in Chesapeake Bay.
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The diet of Chesapeake Bay striped bass in the late 1950s