Murray cod an apex predator in the Murray River, Australia
To determine if the Murray cod Maccullochella peelii peelii is an apex predator in the lowland rivers of the Murray-Darling Basin, its feeding ecology was compared with that of the sympatric top predator, golden perch Macquaria ambigua ambigua based on samples supplied by recreational anglers. Diet and prey size were reconstructed from alimentary tract contents of Murray cod (N 젳9) and golden perch (N 젵2), and their feeding morphology was assessed and included calculation of length- gape relationships and relative gut index. Both species fed principally on fish and decapods although Murray cod was the more piscivorous (frequency of occurrence 44% versus 6%, total number 50% versus 2%, total weight 90.4% versus 16.0%). Based on reconstructions of prey sizes, fishes up to 1 kg in weight were preyed on by Murray cod, distinguishing it from other top predatory fishes in the Murray-Darling Basin and supporting its classification as an apex predator.
Ecology of Freshwater Fish