We describe the diets of lake herring (Coregonus artedi) and rainbow smelt (Osmerus mordax) in western Lake Superior during the summers of 1996 and 1997. Both species consumed predominantly (> 71% by number) zooplankton, showing a preference for larger taxa. Diet overlap between the two species was low (Schoener's index = 0.42). Mysis was most important in rainbow smelt diets, whereas Diaptomus sicilis was most important in lake herring diets. Rainbow smelt selected larger taxa, and larger individuals within a taxon when compared to lake herring, although rainbow smelt tended to be smaller fish. Fish diets have changed relative to previous studies and may be reflecting changes in the zooplankton community. Continued changes in the fish and zooplankton community will alter predator-prey and energetic pathways, ultimately affecting growth and production of the ecosystem.
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Lake herring (Coregonus artedi) and rainbow smelt (Osmerus mordax) diets in western Lake Superior