Date of Award

Fall 1976

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Biological Sciences



Committee Director

Ray S. Birdsong

Committee Member

Gerald Levy

Committee Member

Frank Day

Call Number for Print

Special Collections LD4331.B46 R87


The food habits of yellow bullhead catfish (Ictalurus natalis), yellow perch (Perea flavescens), and fliers (Centrarchus macropterus) in Lake Drummond in the Dismal Swamp were examined. Seventy yellow bullheads (42 mm to 255 mm), 136 yellow perch (41 mm to 280 mm), and 110 fliers (81 mm to 140 mm), were collected with gill nets, traps, seins, and electro-fishing gear from June through November of 1975. Frequency of occurrence and volumentric data were used to evaluate the relative importance of food items. Spearman's rank correlation coef­ficient was determined from the data to test differences in food habits between species, size classes, and seasons. In yellow bullheads, the most frequently occurring organisms were insects (85.4% of all stomachs with food) followed by fish remains (70.9%), algae (61.8%), and crusta­ ceans (50.9%). Crustaceans represented 40.0% of the total food volume in bullheads; insects 19.8%; fish 15.3%; algae 14.8%; and detritus 9.4%. The most frequently occurring food items in yellow perch were insects (84.0% of all stomachs with food) and crustaceans (75.0%),_followed by detritus (62.5%), algae (35.5%), and fish remains (35.0%). Insects formed 39.4% of the total volume of food items in yellow perch, crusta­ceans 38.8%, fish remains 9.5%, detritus 7.5%, and algae 4.8%. In fliers the most frequently occurring food items were insects (100.0% of all stomachs with food), followed by crustaceans (35.1%), algae (28.4%), fish remains (25.7%), and detritus (24.3%). Insects constituted 58.9% of the total food volume, crustaceans 13.9%, detritus 11.7%, fish remains 9.7%, and algae 5.8%. An average of 45.5% of the total volume of all food items eaten by yellow bullheads, yellow perch, and fliers in Lake Drummond were composed of cladocerans, crayfish, caddisfly larvae, and yellow perch fingerlings. The importance of the four food items proba­bly reflect the low diversity of fish food organisms in Lake Drummond rather than highly selective feeding behaviors.


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