The food preferences of larval lake herring (Coregonus artedi) and bloater (C.hoyi) were compared in a small mesotrophic lake in southeastern Michigan. Diets of the two were increasingly similar as the experiment progressed until, by the end of 6.5 weeks, they were identical; Schoener's Index of diet overlap averaged 0.35 in the first week and reached 0.96 by the end of the study. In the first few weeks, lake herring ate mostly small cladocerans (Bosmia longirostris) and bloaters ate mostly large cladocerans (Eurycercus lamellatus). Strauss's selection index confirmed that lake herring actively fed on small cladocerans throughout the study and that bloaters relied more on cyclopoid copepods during the early part of the study and shifted to eating small and large cladocerans by the end. Both species had similar growth rates throughout the study and amount of consumed food was identical. The diet similarities of lake herring and bloater larvae could make them competitors for food in the Great Lakes, relieved only by a dissimilarity in hatching times and locations.
Additional publication details
Diet overlap in larval lake herring (Coregonus artedi) and bloaters (Coregonus hoyi)