Fallfish (Semotilus corporalis) are the largest native cyprinid in the northeastern United States and are the most abundant native species in the Salmon River, New York. The Salmon River is a high-quality spawning and nursery river for Pacific salmon (Oncorhynchus spp.) migrating from Lake Ontario. Because of the large number of Pacific salmon spawning in the river in the fall extensive redd superimposition occurs resulting in salmonid eggs being available on the substrate. We examined the fall diet of 647 fallfish in 2007 and 2008 to determine the extent of predation on Pacific salmon eggs. The contribution of eggs in the diet significantly increased once fallfish attained a size of 100 mm total length. The largest size category of fallfish examined (≥150 mm) had the highest proportion (86.1%) of salmon eggs in their diet. The contribution of Zooplankton and chironomids in the diet of fallfish decreased with fish size. Except for the two largest groups of fallfish examined (i.e., 100–149 mm and ≥150 mm) diet overlap among size groups was low. The high contribution in the diet during the fall and high caloric value of Pacific salmon eggs could increase growth and survival of this species in the Salmon River.
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Vol. 35 • No. 4