Food and feeding habits of the African lungfish, Protopterus annectens (Owens) (Pisces: Sarcopterygii) in the flood plains of River Niger in Etsako east of Edo State, Nigeria

Otuogbai, T. M. ; Ikhenoba, A. ; Elakhame, L. (2000)

An analysis of the gut contents of African lungfish Protopterus annectens(O) using the frequency of occurrence, numerical and volumetric methods show that the fish has selective preference for diets of other fishes, molluscs, insects, crustaceans, annelids and plant materials. The condition factor ranged from 0.30 to 0.68 with a mean value of 0.50. The length weight relationship showed a linear proportionality with a calculated r-value (0.9682, P = 0.01, df = 207) indicating a positive allometric growth. Histological sections revealed striking similarity between the structures of the tongue and the paired fins (pectoral and pelvic). Both have similar types of taste buds, implying similar and possibly related functions. There is therefore, clear evidence that the paired fins play definite and active role in the feeding process of this fish. Such roles may include food location or detection, determination of food suitability and possibly palatability.



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