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Consumption, abundance and habitat use of Anguilla anguilla in a mesotrophic reservoir

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The role of the eel Anguilla anguilla as a piscivorous species was investigated in a biomanipulation experiment in the mesotrophic Saidenbach Reservoir. The distribution and abundance of the eels were investigated by point abundance sampling, snorkelling and scuba diving. Also, the total yearly consumption of the eel population was compared with the standing stock of prey fishes and the production of roach Rutilus rutilus eggs. A restricted availability of shelter habitats at low water levels had no influence on the distribution of the eels during the nocturnal activity period. Fishes were consumed in low numbers but in high proportions of biomass by large eels. The maximum estimate of the annual consumption of the prey fish standing stock by the eels was 19%. Fish eggs were consumed during a small time period by a large proportion of the eels but the total consumption was <10% of the total annual production of roach eggs. By consuming small individuals of planktivorous fishes, the eels contribute to the biomanipulation programme in the Saidenbach Reservoir.

Keywords: European eel; biomanipulation; consumption; cyprinid eggs; feeding pressure; underwater observation

Document Type: Regular Paper


Affiliations: Institute of Hydrobiology, Dresden University of Technology, 01062 Dresden, Germany and

Publication date: December 1, 2004

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