Food and feeding habits of the slender river prawn, Macrobrachium idella (Hilgendorf, 1998) (Decapoda, palaemonidae)

K.V. Jayachandran, N.I. Joseph


Detailed analysis of the food and feeding habits of Macrobrachium idella (Hilgendorf, 1998) has been carried out. Twelve food items were recognised, namely, detritus, sand particles, semidecayed wood particles, entire seeds, filamentous algae, diatoms, insect remains, crustacean remains, digested flesh, fish scales and skeleton, gastropods and foraminiferans. The results showed that the annual preference grade was in the order detritus (33.35 per cent), insect remains (17.20 per cent), sand particles (12.65 per cent), wood particles (8.32 per cent), digested flesh (7.15 per cent), diatoms (5.91 per cent), crustacean remains (5.72 per cent), filamentous algae (5.28 per cent), gastropods (1.38 per cent), seeds (1.28 per cent), foraminifera (0.94 per cent) and fish scales and skeleton (0.66 per cent). The males and females of M.idetta (11-20 mm length group) consumed only detritus and diatoms. The other food items including sand particles were not seen in the gut of this length group which indicates that they mostly depend on algae for food. The second length group (21-30 mm) was only partly bottom feeders whereas the third length group (31-40 mm) was bottom feeders. Highest length group was carnivores. Medium sized female prawns were omnivores while that of the higher length groups were carnivores.


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