Juvenile white sturgeon, Acipenser transmontanus, have not been commonly identified as prey items in digestive tracts of fishes collected in the wild. In particular, the diet of northern pikeminnow, Ptychocheilus oregonensis, an abundant Pacific Northwest freshwater predator which has been widely studied, has not included juvenile white sturgeon. To aid in interpreting these results and help in planning future feeding studies, we determined the persistence of identifiable remains of white sturgeon juveniles in this predator's digestive tract. Northern pikeminnow (mean total length = 476 mm), were force-fed meals of 2 or 3 juvenile white sturgeon (mean total length = 91 mm). After digestive periods of 4, 8, 16, 24, 28, and 32h at a water temperature of about 17 ??C, fish were sacrificed, digestive tracts removed, and contents examined. Our results indicate that juvenile white sturgeon would be readily discernable in digestive tracts of northern pikeminnow at least a day after feeding, with scutes remaining undigested and identifiable for 28 h.
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Persistence of identifiable remains of white sturgeon juveniles in digestive tracts of northern pikeminnow