Feeding ecology of age-o smallmouth bass in the New River, West Virginia
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The purpose of this study was to determine the food habits of age-O smallmouth bass (Micropterus dolomieu Lac~p~de) in the New River and to examine spatial, temporal, and size-related differences in foraging success. Understanding factors that regulate foraging success of age-O smallmouth bass may provide further insight into factors regulating yearclass strength in smallmouth bass populations.
Larval and juvenile smallmouth bass (8.5-85 mm Total Length; TL) were collected from two sites in the New River, West Virginia in the late spring and early summer of 1990. Stomach analysis revealed that the first foods of smallmouth bass (TL - 9 mm) were primarily Chironomidae and Copepoda. Aquatic insects, primarily Ephemeroptera, became more abundant in the stomachs as TL increased. A shift in the proportions and types of prey consumed occurred at approximately 15 mm TL and was attributed to increased mouth width and fin development.