Journal of fish biology vol:50 issue:2 pages:254-266
The feeding ecology of four species of Xenbotilapia (Teleostei, Cichlidae) from Lake Tanganyika was investigated by examining their intestine contents in three different habitats from two 24-h catch cycles. The fish were caught in a sandy bay 4 km north-west of Bujumbura (Burundi) during the dry season, from August until October 1993. Three different habitats were sampled: an area 600 m offshore at a depth of 15 m, a littoral zone near a reed bed (depth, 0-5 m), and an area near a sandy beach (depth, 5 m). The fish were most active in the early morning and at night, except for X. caudafasciata which was the most diurnal. X. ochrogenys was confined to the vicinity of the reeds, where few individuals of the other species were found, and prey comprised mainly ostracods, copepods and chironomid larvae (Tanytarsini). X. ornatipinnis and X. longispinis occurred in large numbers both at a depth of 15 m and near the sandy beach. X. ornatipinnis preyed mainly on copepods, oligochaetes, diatoms and chironomid larvae. X. longispinis had a wider range of temporal and spatial distribution compared with the other species and fed on copepods, ostracods and chironomid larvae (mainly Microchironomus spp.). X. caudafasciata (only caught at 15 m) fed mostly on profundal chironomid larvae (Tanypodinae and Microchironomus spp.). Trophic niche overlap between X. longispinis and X. caudafasciata appeared to be reduced through different activity patterns. Few intraspecific differences in food diet were found between sex and age groups. (C) 1997 The Fisheries Society of the British Isles.