Food Habits of Family Cichlidae in the Riverine Area of South Western Nigeria
Studies of gut content analysis of fish are essential for understanding the food habits and trophic levels of fish and how they interact with their environment. One hundred and fifteen (115) individuals of cichlids which comprise of 6 species namely: Hemichromis fasciatus, Hemichromis bimaculatus, Oreochromis niloticus¸ Oreochromis aureus, Sarotherodon galilaeus and Tylochromis sudanensis were studied between December 2020 and May 2021. The frequency of occurrence (FO), number method (Cn) and volumetric method (Cv) of food items analysis and viscera-somatic index (VSI) were used in this study. The food items in the stomach of H. fasciatus, H. bimaculatus, O. niloticus, O. aureus and T. galilaeus showed that these fishes found in this study were euryphagous thus, they feed on a wide range of food items. T sudanensis was the only species found to be stenophagous thus, feeding on a limited variety of food items. T. sudanensis had the least numbers recorded of the fishes caught. This is related to its observed food habit in this study, therefore its abundance is related to food availability. The viscero-somatic index of all 115 individuals varied between average of 3.79 and 5.09 which indicates all species examined have higher weight of flesh than weight of viscera. The result from this study proved that cichlids in Nigeria are of good culture potential except T. sudanensis.