International Journal of
Fisheries and Aquaculture

  • Abbreviation: Int. J. Fish. Aquac.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 2006-9839
  • DOI: 10.5897/IJFA
  • Start Year: 2010
  • Published Articles: 223

Full Length Research Paper

Food and feeding habits of Ophiocephalus obscura (African snakehead) in the Cross River estuary, Cross River State, Nigeria

George Ubong Uwem1, Ekanem Albert P.1* and George Eni2
  1Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture, University of Calabar, Cross River State, Nigeria. 2Department of Zoology and Environmental Biology, University of Calabar, Cross River State,   Nigeria.
Email: [email protected]

  •  Accepted: 07 October 2011
  •  Published: 30 November 2011


Studies conducted on the food and feeding habits of Ophiocephalus obscura in the Cross River estuary, Cross River State, Nigeria, between February and April, 2009 revealed that the species feed mostly on food from animal origin, although diatoms and other plant materials were also identified. A total of 149 plant materials (15.95%) and 77 diatoms (8.24%) were consumed by the species. Food from animal origin consumed by the species included polychaete worm 110 (11.77%), shrimps 84 (8.99%), shrimp parts 33 (3.55%), juvenile fish 33 (3.33%), fish bones 44 (4.71%), fish scales 40 (4.28%), bivalves 61 (6.53%), insect larvae 2 (0.21%), adult insects 2 (0.21%), daphnia 62 (6.63%) and water snails 2 (0.21%). The condition factor calculated for the species varied during the study period with a mean value of 2.09 in February, 1.05 in March and 0.76 in April. Based on the food items isolated from the gut of the O. obscura, the species could be considered as a voracious carnivore in the Cross River system, while the variations in the condition factor of the species in the river system may indicate a period of high yield or otherwise of the species in the river system.



Key words: Food, feeding habits, Ophiocephalus obscura, Cross River estuary.