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Document Type

Thesis - University Access Only

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department / School

Wildlife and Fisheries Science

First Advisor

David W. Willis


Although largemouth bass Micropterus salmoides and northern pike Esox Lucius food habit studies have been undertaken extensively throughout the United States and Europe, none have been completed for fish communities in the Nebraska Sandhill lakes. Additionally, little information exists on the seasonal food habits of bluegill Lepomis macrochirus and yellow perch Perca flavescens in these shallow natural lakes. Most of the previous research on the Nebraska Sandhill lakes has focused on factors influencing quality panfish populations. Previous research indicated that largemouth bass relative abundance was positively correlated with bluegill and yellow perch proportional stock density (PSD). However, direct assessment of predator effects on panfish populations is still needed. The objective of my study was to determine seasonal food habits of bluegill, yellow perch, largemouth bass, and northern pike in Pelican and West Long lakes, Nebraska, in 2001. Although bluegill in all length groups primarily consumed macroinvertebrates during all seasons in West Long Lake, zooplankton were common in the diets of bluegills in all length groups during all seasons. In Pelican Lake, bluegills in all length groups fed almost exclusively on macroinvertebrates during all seasons rather than on zooplankton or fishes. Based on percent by number and weight, yellow perch in West Long Lake primarily fed on macroinvertebrates, while yellow perch in Pelican Lake additionally consumed zooplankton and fish (i.e., yellow perch). Based on percent by number and weight, largemouth bass in Pelican Lake primarily consumed yellow perch in all length groups and during all seasons. Although yellow perch were common in the diets of largemouth bass in West Long Lake, a greater variety of prey taxa appeared in their diets compared to bass in Pelican Lake. Northern pike in Pelican Lake fed primarily on yellow perch except in September when northern pike > 710 mm consumed primarily common carp Cyprinus carpio. Although northern pike in West Long Lake fed primarily on yellow perch, a variety of prey fishes appeared in the diets of northern pike < 350 mm. These results provide evidence of predator-prey interactions in Nebraska Sandhill lakes, which has only been inferred in previous research.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Fish communities--Nebraska--Sandhills
Predation (Biology)--Nebraska--Sandhills


Includes bibliographical references (pages 51-54)



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University


Copyright © 1996. Timothy J. Debates. All rights reserved.