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Hypophthalmichthys molitrix (Silver Carp) is an invasive fish that threatens ecosystem function by consuming basal food web resources. In this study we quantify gut contents of 83 Silver Carp in the mainstem reservoir ecosystem of Kentucky Lake, Kentucky, Tennessee River Valley, United States. Silver Carp guts contained phytoplankton (63.5%), zooplankton (33.8%) and heterotrophic flagellates (2.7%) based on volume. Additionally, we compare existing literature on Silver Carp diet and trophic position (i.e., stable isotope information). Our study indicates that Silver Carp are planktivorous and consume organisms within multiple lower trophic levels across a range of habitats. However, we show that Silver Carp diets differ at finer taxonomic scales and suggest these differences may be driven by forage availability. To our knowledge, this is the first study to quantify diets of Silver Carp within a mainstem reservoir ecosystem designed for flood storage with a comparison to existing Silver Carp diet literature. The results of this study may be useful in predicting ecological implications of Silver Carp invasion across a diversity of habitats.
Eastern red bats (Lasiurus borealis) are nocturnal insectivores distributed throughout eastern North America. While the dietary composition of this species has been broadly studied, dietary variation in Kentucky is not well documented. To evaluate potential regional, seasonal, and reproductive dietary variation for this species, we analyzed fecal samples from 121 individual bats collected throughout Kentucky from June 2004 to September 2006. Fecal samples were dissected under magnification, and prey in fecal samples were visually-identified to ordinal level. Results of our study suggest that overall, beetles (Coleoptera) and moths (Lepidoptera) were consumed about equally. Beetles comprised most of the diet in spring and summer with a shift to moths as the main prey item in autumn. Beetles were consumed more in the Mississippi Valley Loess Plains and Southwestern Appalachian ecoregions, whereas moths were consumed more in the Central Appalachian and Interior Plateau ecoregions. These data suggest variation in the eastern red bat diet throughout Kentucky, which we attribute to climatic and regional environmental factors. We speculate that eastern red bats may favor moths in autumn to build essential energy reserves in preparation for hibernation.