Food and feeding habits of Distichodus engycephalus (Boulenger, 1907) of lake oguta: search for a sustainable aquaculture in the New Millennium
Food and feeding of Distichodus engycephalus (Boulenger, 1907), a potential culturable fish from Lake Oguta was investigated between March 2003 and October 2004 using the frequency of occurrence and numerical methods. D. engycephalus was found to be a herbivorous fish. Diet comprised of organisms from seven food taxa, including filamentous green algae (31.2% by bulk), higher plants (22.0%), detritus/mud (13.0%), unicellular green algae (9.6%), diatoms (6.7%); cyanophyceae (6.0%) and rotifera (3.5%). Filamentous algae and macrophytes were the most important dietary items and occurred in 98% of the stomachs with food. Changes in feeding pattern were observed as the fish matures, with the young fish showing marked preference for diatoms (41.0%) and unicellular algae (23.0%). Feeding adaptations include muscular oesophagus, reduced stomach and elongated intestine. The implications of these in the formulation of artificial feed for cultured species and in sustainable rural aquaculture in the new millenium are discussed.
Key words: Food and feeding habits, D. engycephalus, sustainable aquaculture.