Food and feeding habits of the catfish, Bagrus docmak (Forsskal, 1775) (Pisces:Bagridae) in Lake Chamo, Ethiopia

  • Hailu Anja Awassa College of Teachers’ Education, PO Box 115, Awassa, Ethiopia
  • Seyoum Mengistou Department of Biology, Faculty of Science, Addis Ababa University PO Box 1176, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Keywords: Bagrus docmak, Ethiopia, Lake Chamo, prey, predator ratio, Synodontis schall


The natural food of the catfish Bagrus docmak was studied from February 1995 to February 1996 in Lake Chamo, Ethiopia. The stomach contents of a total of 534 fish samples, ranging in size from 33—99 cm fork length (LF) and 500—17400 g in total weight (WT) were investigated. The diet of B. docmak was composed of insects (larvae, nymphs and adults), aquatic snails and different fish species such as Synodontis schall, Labeo horie, Oreochromis niloticus, Barbus sp. and Hydrocynus forskalii. Juvenile B. docmak (< 40 cm LF) ingested more insects than fish while older fish were largely piscivorous, with fish constituting more than 98% of their diet by weight. S. schall was the most important prey and occurred in more than 81% of all the stomachs of large B. docmak. The prey:predator (S. schall:B. docmak) length ratio varied between 1:2 and 1:6. The feeding habit of B. docmak in Lake Chamo is compared with that of other tropical African lakes that have similar ichthyofauna.

SINET: Ethiopian Journal of Science Volume 24, No. 2 (December 2001), pp. 239-254

Key words/phrases: Bagrus docmak, Ethiopia, Lake Chamo, prey:predator ratio, Synodontis schall

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 2520-7997
print ISSN: 0379-2897