Diet and growth of asp, Aspius aspius (Linnaeus, 1758), in the Danube River near the confluence with the Sava River (Serbia)
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P>A sample of 198 asp (Aspius aspius) was collected over a 28.5 km long section of the Danube River, upstream and downstream from the mouth of the Sava River, in order to provide information on population structure, diet, growth, and condition of this species. Total body lengths of sampled fish were 90-405 mm, and body weights 5-567 g. The sample was predominantly sub-adult fish aged 0+ to 4+ years. Sexually immature asp prevailed over the sexually mature asp. The sex ratio (1.4 : 1) was biased toward males. Male asps in the Danube become sexually mature only in their fifth year of life, and the females even later, as no sexually mature females were caught. The diet spectrum consists exclusively of fishes; of seven determined prey species, most important are bleak Alburnus alburnus, roach Rutilus rutilus, and goldfish Carassius auratus. Highest value of the seasonal vacuity index is in November (I(v) = 94.1), and the smallest in July (I(v) = 35.6). Trophic niche breadth is largest in May (H = 1.40), and smallest in November (H = 0.00). The largest average number of prey items is found in age class 4+ (2.33), the smallest in age class 0+ (1.00). Von Bertalanffy growth parameters are L(infinity) = 526.46, K = 0.28, and t(0) = 0.22. The length-weight relationship is described as log W = -5.16 + 3.03 log L. Fulton's condition factor increases with fish length, from 0.70 to 0.83. Regarding seasonal fluctuations, this factor begins to increase in late spring, with the trend continuing until autumn, and then decreasing from autumn to spring.