Food and feeding pattern of Macrobrachium vollenhovenii and M. macrobrachion collected from fresh and brackish water habitats were studied for a year (March 2003 to February 2004). Stomachs contents of 1400 prawns (3.5-19.2 cm) were examined. Twelve major diet groups, made up of 31 species were identified by taxa. Diet did not differ significantly between the two species and their environment. The mostly consumed diets with the highest Relative Abundance (RA) in the freshwater habitat, M. vollenhovenii were Cyanophyceae (17.68%), followed by Cladocerans (14.62%) and Bacillariophyta (5.54%), in M. macrobrachion the highest RA was Cladocerans (31.07%), followed by Dinoflagellates (18.54%) and Bacillariophyta (15.56%). In the brackish environment the two prawn species had similar diets composition with Bacillariophyta (M. vollenhovenii-25.66% and M. macrobrachion-28.69%) as the major diet with the highest RA, followed by Dinoflagellates and Cladocerans. Index of Relative Importance (IRI) was used to assess the food preference. Diet species with the highest IRI were Biddulphia sp. (1066.80) for brackish water M. macrobrachion; Rhizosolenia sp. (IRI-1587.60) for freshwater M. macrobrachion. In M. vollenhovenii, Rotifera nepturis (IRI-915.60) and Moina sp. (912.822) were the highest recorded for brackish water. C. radiatus (IRI -1131.69), Ceratium sp. (IRI-1128.33) and Moina sp. (1105.65) were recorded for freshwater M. vollenhovenii and seasonal variation was observed in their feeding habits.
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O.A. Bello-Olusoji, M. Bankole, A. Sheu and F.B. Oyekanmi, 2006. Availability, Diet Composition and Feeding Behaviors of Some Commercially Important Palaemonidae Prawns in Fresh and Brackish Water of Nigeria. Journal of Biological Sciences, 6: 15-21.
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