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FOOD AND FEEDING HABIT OF SPINY EEL Macrognathus aral (Bloch and Schneider) FROM UPPER ASSAM

Food and feeding habits of for M. aral were studied by examining a total of 421 di-gestive tracts during August, 2008 and July, 2010. It is very important to know the feeding habits of the fish in the natural environment in order to conduct stock en-hancement by releasing the seedlings, because prevention of starvation, improve-ments of their growth and effective management can be conducted from this knowledge. The results reveals that the lowest value of relative length of gut (RLG) was found as 0.58(±0.09) in 27-32 cm whereas the highest values as 0.62(±0.12) in 7-12 cm group. Fullness of gut was recorded as18.38% (full); 9.18% (¾ full); 11.23% (½ full); 12.54% (¼ full); 19.77% (nearly empty) and 28.9% (empty). Gastro somatic index (GSI) was ranged from 0.55±0.13 (Feb) to 3.72±1.84 (Jun) for males and that of female from 0.45±0.12 (Feb) to 1.85±0.61 (Aug). In juveniles, a strong positive selection was observed for zooplanktonic organism (46.44%), insect larvae (27%), miscellaneous includes unidentified matter, algal & fish egg (17.16%), anne-lids (5.38%), sand & mud (2.05%) and crustaceans (1.97%). In adults, the most dom-inant food item was insect larvae (34.45%) and followed by zooplankton (19.56%); miscellaneous includes unidentified matter, algal & fish egg (15.04%); annelids (11.75%), crustaceans (8.02%), sand & mud (6.02%) and molluscs (5.16%). The in-dex of pre-ponderance values showed that insect larvae were the most preferred food item (63.1%) for this species followed by zooplankton (20.02%) miscellaneous in-cludes unidentified matter, algal & fish egg (10.59%), sand & mud (4.37%), crusta-ceans (1.30%), annelids (0.52%) and molluscs (0.10%).

Author(s): Santoshkumar Singh ABUJAM

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