Ichthyological Research

, Volume 65, Issue 2, pp 245–251 | Cite as

Profiles of digestive enzymes of two competing planktivores, silver carp and gizzard shad, differ

  • Jon J. Amberg
  • Nathan R. Jensen
  • Richard A. Erickson
  • Blake Sauey
  • Craig Jackson
Full Paper


Typically, studies in digestive physiology in fish focus on a few enzymes and provide insight into the specific processes of the enzyme in a targeted species. Comparative studies assessing a wide number of digestive enzymes on fishes that compete for food resources are lacking, especially in the context of an introduced species. It is generally thought that the invasive silver carp (SVC; Hypophthalmichthys molitrix) directly compete for food resources with the native gizzard shad (GZS; Dorosoma cepedianum) in waters where they coexist. We compared 19 digestive enzymes between SVC and GZS throughout a year and in two rivers in the Midwestern United States: Illinois River and Wabash River. All digestive enzymes analyzed were detected in both SVC and GZS in both rivers. However, the profiles of the digestive enzymes varied by species. Alkaline phosphatase, valine arylamidase, acid phosphatase, naphthol-AS-BI-phosphohydrolase and N-acetyl-β-glucosaminidase were all much higher in SVC than in GZS. Differences between digestive enzyme profiles were also observed between rivers and months. This study demonstrates the utility of using an ecological approach to compare physiological features in fishes.


Asian carp Silver carp Digestive physiology 



This project was funded through the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative as part of a larger project focused on the development of a species-specific control for bigheaded carps. The authors claim no conflicts of interests. The authors thank the staff at the Illinois History Survey in Havana, Illinois, and Dr. Reuben Goforth and students at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana, for assisting in the capture of fishes. All vertebrate animals used in this study (AEH-10-ORAL-01) were handled according to the approved protocol procedures and the policies established by the USGS Upper Midwest Environmental Sciences Center Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee; the Committee reviewed and approved protocol-specific procedures. Any use of trade, product, or firm names is for descriptive purposes only and does not imply endorsement by the US Government.


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Copyright information

© This is a U.S. Government work and not under copyright protection in the US; foreign copyright protection may apply 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.U.S. Geological SurveyLa CrosseUSA
  2. 2.Fish and WildlifeKootenai Tribe of IdahoBonners FerryUSA

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