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Turkish Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 2012, Vol 12, Num, 2     (Pages: 265-275)

Diet Composition and Digestive Enzymes Activity in Carnivorous Fishes Inhabiting Mudflats of Indian Sundarban Estuaries

Atreyee Chaudhuri 1 ,Sudeshna Mukherjee 1 ,Sumit Homechaudhuri 1

1 Aquatic Bioresource Research Laboratory, Department of Zoology, University of Calcutta, 35 Ballygunge Circular Road, Kolkata–700019, India DOI : 10.4194/1303-2712-v12_2_11 Viewed : 1837 - Downloaded : 3257 Intertidal mudflats occupy a significant component of the total estuarine habitat available to fishes as nursery and foraging grounds. In this study, fifteen sites were randomly explored along three estuarine rivers in Indian Sundarbans and 27 fish species, were recorded. Upon analysis of prey preferences, they were categorized into different trophic types. A comparative study of the digestive physiology of 10 carnivorous species as functional analogues was carried out in order to find out relationship between digestive enzyme activity and trophic niche segregation among them. Rarefaction curves for stomach content analysis indicated diverse nature of prey preferences among different species. A dendrogram based on prey diversity was constructed through cluster analysis. Another dendrogram was constructed based on enzymes (i.e. α-amylase, invertase, cellulose, alkaline protease and pepsin) which were measured from liver, stomach and intestine of ten carnivorous species. A comparison of the two dendrograms did not reflect any positive relationship between prey preferences and digestive enzymes. It was, therefore, concluded that enzyme patterns were more affected by phylogeny rather than adaptability. No clear predominance among digestive enzymes was observed in relation to food, suggesting that the organic matter of animal origin was utilized non-selectively by these fishes since the quality and variety of available food were subjected to change and over time in such a dynamic environment. Keywords : Stomach content, teleosts, amylolytic enzymes, proteolytic enzymes, dendrogram