Although predation by rainbow smelt (Osmerus mordax) on young-of-the-year alewives (Alosa pseudoharengus) in the Great Lakes has long been suspected, evidence has been lacking. Young alewives were first noticed in the alimentary tracts of a few large smelt caught in northeastern Lake Ontario in September 1972. A more detailed examination of the stomach contents of smelt taken at various localities in northern Lake Michigan and northern Lake Huron was made during the fall of 1973. Inasmuch as the observations suggest that large smelt commonly prey on young alewives during the fall when the two species occupy the same depth zones, the quantity of young alewives consumed by smelt may represent an important part of the alewife's total mortality during its first year of life.
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Predation by rainbow smelt (Osmerus mordax) on young-of-the-year alewives (Alosa pseudoharengus) in the Great Lakes