Food and Feeding Habits of the Guppy, Poecilia reticulata, from Drainage Canal Systems in Lagos, Southwestern Nigeria
The food and feeding habits of the Guppy, Poecilia reticulata, from drainage canal systems in Lagos Metropolis, Nigeria, was investigated over a period of 24 months. Fish samples were collected monthly from 15 study sites. A total of 2400 fish stomachs were analyzed using the numerical and frequency of occurrence methods. P. reticulata fed mainly on algae, organic detritus, diatoms, mosquito larvae parts, protozoan, zooplankton and fish parts while algae form the most abundant and important food item, constituting 79.03% of food items by numerical and 33.17% by occurrence of stomachs examined. Amongst the algae, Ulothrix sp. was the most preferred, constituting 33.17% by numerical and 20.82% by occurrence. The least eaten food item was fish parts constituting 4.46% by numerical and 1.19% by occurrence. There was a significant difference (P < 0.05) in the number of algae and mosquito larvae consumed, while there was no significant difference (P > 0.05) in the number of other food items consumed for both seasons. However, by occurrence method there was no significant difference (P > 0.05) in food items consumed for both seasons. The three size classes of P. reticulata exhibited similar food habits with the presence of eight categories of food items in their stomachs. The largest size class ate more of algae, organic detritus and fish parts, followed by the medium size class while the small size class ate less of these food items. The species is an opportunistic benthopelagic omnivores, whose preference for food fluctuates with season, with a peak in diversity of food types occurring in the rainy season.