Adult blueback herring Alosa aestivalis (N = 116) were collected during the 1999, 2000, and 2002-2004 spawning runs from sites on the Hudson and Mohawk rivers, and gut contents were analyzed. Thirty-four fish (33% of those examined) were found to contain food material. Food items were present in 41% of Mohawk River samples and 11% of Hudson River samples; all Hudson River fish containing food were captured in small tributaries above the head of tide. Hudson River fish predominantly consumed zooplankton, while Mohawk River fish consumed benthic aquatic insects in large quantities, including Baetidae, Ephemeridae, and Chironomidae. Using stable isotope analysis and a mixing model, we found that fish collected later in the season had significantly decreased marine-derived C. Condition indices of later-season fish were equal to or greater than those of fish collected earlier in the season. Blueback herring in this system may face increased energy requirements as they migrate farther upstream during spawning runs, and feeding may provide energy subsidies needed to maintain fitness over their expanded migratory range. ?? Copyright by the American Fisheries Society 2007.
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Bridging the energy gap: Anadromous blueback herring feeding in the Hudson and Mohawk rivers, New York