Original paper

Feeding of pike larvae (Esox lucius L.) in an alluvial river backwater: fatty acid as markers of two organic matter flows

Sauvanet, Jérémy; Bourdier, Gilles; Jouve, Lionel; Bec, Alexandre; Desvilettes, Christian


We used fatty acids (FAs) as biomarkers to elucidate trophic links in the food chain of pike larvae and juveniles living in a river backwater. It appeared that the food web was based first on open-water seston during the zooplanktonophagous phase of pike and on epiphytic microalgae during the entomophagous phase. Metaphyton and vascular macrophytes did not contribute to the pool of FAs transferred to invertebrate prey and further to pike larvae or juveniles. Those primary producers acted more as a substratum for epiphytic microalgae or as a habitat for invertebrates and larval pike. Similarly, FA analysis of decaying allochthonous litter suggested weak trophic interactions with the zooplankton or macroinvertebrate taxa ingested by pike.


epiphytonfatty acidsmacroinvertebratespike larvaeriver backwatersestonzooplankton