Ecomorphological patterns of fish species in selected sites along Imo River, Rivers State
Wala C, Onwuteaka J, Lazarus O T
The connection between morphometry and ecology is demonstrated through studies in ecomorpholgy. Over the course of a year; studies on the eco-morphological patterns of various fish species at selected sites along the Imo River were conducted (April 2021 – March 2022). 13 fish species in all were harvested in Kono and Opuoko during this time. Using a measuring tape and a digital electronic scale with model number of TH-901, morphometric and body weight of fish specimens were measured to the nearest cm and gram. Ecomorphological patterns in relation to feeding in Kono indicate that P. jubelini, C. hippos, L. dentatus, L. goreensis, M. sebae, P. vorax, S. maderensis, P. elongatus were all carnivores that preyed on smaller preys with the exception of P. quadrifilis, which was classified as a carnivore that preyed on larger prey. C. nigrodigitatus, G. nigri and L. falcipinnis were classified as omnivores and E. fimbriata as herbivorous. On the other hand, eco-morphological patterns in relation to habitat preference show that P. jubelini, L. dentatus, L. goreensis, P. quadrifilis, C. nigrodigitatus and L. falcipinnis are Benthic/bottom dwellers, P. elongatus and G. nigri are bentho-pelagic while C. hippos, M. sebae, P. vorax, S. maderensis and E. fimbriata were classified as pelagic dwellers. Similar to this, eco-morphological ratios in relation to foraging habit in Opuoko show that P. jubelini, C. hippos, L. dentatus, L. goreensis, S. maderensis, P. elongatus were carnivores that fed on small prey while P. quadrifilis was a carnivore that fed on larger prey, while C. nigrodigitatus, G. nigri and L. falcipinnis were omnivores and E. fimbriata was herbivorous. Eco-morphological ratios in relation to habitat preference in Opuoko indicate that P. jubelini, L. dentatus, L. goreensis, P. quadrifilis, C. nigrodigitatus and L. falcipinnis were classified as benthic/bottom dwellers while G. nigri and P. elongatus were grouped as bentho-pelagic/near bottom dwellers and C. hippos, S. maderensis and E. fimbriata were grouped as pelagic dwellers. Overall, the relationship observed between morphology and foraging habits and habitat preference in the two sites were patterns observed in similar fish species across other waterbodies which is indicative of the role played by morphology in determining foraging tactics and resource management.
Wala C, Onwuteaka J, Lazarus O T. Ecomorphological patterns of fish species in selected sites along Imo River, Rivers State. International Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Research, Volume 8, Issue 1, 2023, Pages 1-9