STUDIES ON GROWTH, FOOD AND FEEDING ECOLOGY, PREY SELECTION OF LARGESCALE MULLET, LIZA MACROLEPIS (SMITH, 1846) IN EXTENSIVE BRACKISHWATER FARMING SYSTEM
The present study was aimed to focus on growth, food and feeding ecology, prey preferences of Largescale mullet (Liza macrolepis) in extensive polyculture system for 9 months during February to November, 2015. Unfiltered estuarine water (16.5ppt) containing seeds of various crustacean and fish species were entered in impoundments and water was exchanged (20-30%) every lunar cycle through bamboo screens. Any commercial feed or fertilizer was not applied following common practice. Tade mullet
... ce. Tade mullet fingerlings (3.43±1.90g, 6.1±0.22cm) added with auto stocked fishes @ 1000 fish ha-1 attained 1303.30 g. They performed positive allometric growth (W=0.014 TL 3.08) and high condition factor (K=1.740.06) indicating sufficient of natural food materials in extensive farming system. Feeding intensity in terms of stomach fullness upgraded with increasing fish weight. Food and Feeding ecology study suggested Largescale mullet as herbivorous fish grazing on phytoplankton and sand-mud from benthic layer. Stomach content analysis revealed that the, Bacillariophyceae, Chlorophyceae Myxophyceae, copepods, Dino-flagellates, fish-shrimp part, Debris, sand & mud and unidentified species were the prominent representatives food items of species Liza macrolepis. Although Myxophyceae, Bacillariophyceae, and Chlorophyceae according to the order of dominance were present in ambient water, Largescale mullet actively selected on Bacillariophyceae followed by Chlorophyceae and Myxophyceae according to order of preference indicating their ability to select preferred food materials.