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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


From May through August of 1990 or 1991 yellow perch Perea flavesoens were collected fron1 eastern South Dakota lakes with short-term sets of experimental gill nets. Yellow perch food habits were documented and related to population form and function characteristics. A wide range of yellow perch population types were identified. Higher-quality yellow perch populations were characterized by fast growth, low density, and low and inconsistent recruitment. Low-quality populations were characterized by slower growth, high density, and high and consistent recruitment. Mean back-calculated lengtb-at-age-3 values, for yellow perch, were significantly different (P<0.05) among populations. Thus, yellow perch growth rates were used as a basis for comparison of food habit patterns among populations. Food habit patterns of yellow perch populations exhibited high degrees of variability among lakes and months. Chironomids were a major source of prey in all populations with mean Relative Importance (RI) values ranging from 29 to 55. The high importance of chironomids in yellow perch food habits is probably related to high densities of chironomids in the environment. Corixids were only an important prey item in the diets of yellow perch in the higher-quality populations, with RI values ranging from 22 to 26. Zooplankton were important sources of prey for yellow perch in lower-quality populations, with mean RI values ranging from 35 to 51. Prey fish were not an important source of prey throughout the growing season in any yellow perch population. Mean prey fish RI values were ≤ 8 for all yellow perch populations. The fast growth of yellow perch in the higher-quality populations is attributable to a diet in which macroinvertebrates were the primary source of prey. A significant negative correlation was found between yellow perch mean back-calculated length-at-age-3 and the mean RI of zooplankton (r = -0.87, P= 0.02). The mean RI of macroinvertebrates was positively correlated with yellow perch growth rates (r=0.86, P=0.03). The mean RI of prey fish was not significantly correlated with yellow perch population growth rates (r=0.66, P=0.16). Linear Electivity values indicated that Daphnia spp. were preferred as prey by yellow perch, while cyclopoid copepods were avoided and calanoid copepods were strongly avoided in most instances. The mean length of zooplankton or Daphnia spp. consumed by yellow perch was always significantly greater than the mean length available (F=620.80, P<0.00 and F = 486.31, P<0.00, respectively). Significant positive correlations existed between yellow perch mean back-calculated length-at-age-3 and the mean length of zooplankton and Daphnia spp. available in the environment in August (r =0.86, P=0.03 and r =0.81, P=0.05, respectively}. Thus, by determining zooplankton or Daphnia spp. mean lengths available in the environment in August, yellow perch population growth rates can be predicted with some reliability (R2=0.74 and R2=0.66, respectively).

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Yellow perch -- South Dakota -- Feeding and feeds
Fish populations -- South Dakota


Includes bibliographical references (page 79-83)



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University


Copyright © 1991 John Patrick Lott. All rights reserved.