, Volume 73, Issue 1, pp 83–91 | Cite as

Condition and feeding behaviour of subadult burbot (Lota lota) in riverine and lacustrine environments

  • Petr Blabolil
  • Martin Čech
  • Tomáš Jůza
  • Luboš Kočvara
  • Josef Matěna
  • Milan Říha
  • Lukáš Vejřík
  • Jiří Peterka
Original Article


The condition and feeding behaviour of burbot, a widespread potamodromous species in riverine and lacustrine environments, were compared in order to evaluate the importance of both in three artificial systems. Subadult burbot were sampled in three temperate reservoirs in spring, and one of them also in summer and autumn. Standardised abundance and sizes of burbot were comparable between the reservoirs, but the conditions were significantly different. The Clark’s condition coefficient and index of fullness were independent of burbot size and individuals. Feeding behaviour in terms of abundance and composition of consumed food was environment-dependent. The most common prey category was aquatic insect larvae, dominating in the riverine environment. Permanent water invertebrates, microcrustaceans, beetles and crayfish were less common food and eaten more often in the lacustrine environment. Prey-fish were usually the most common species of suitable size. The food analyses demonstrated opportunistic feeding behaviour with selection of prey associated with benthic habitat and suitable size. Burbot is therefore flexible not only in environments utilisation, but also feeding strategy.


electrofishing Gadidae potadromous migration reservoir running water standing water 



Thanks are given to D. Bartoň, S. Chung, I. Koljada, M. Křížová, J. Kubečka, Z. Prachař and M. Vašek for assistance in field, laboratory support and helpful suggestions during manuscript preparation. This study was supported by grant of the Czech Science Foundation (15-01625S), by the University of South Bohemia (158/2016/P), by the Norwegian Financial Mechanism 2009-2014 under contract number MSMT-28477/2014 (7F14316), by the program COST-CZ under contract number MSMT-LD15021 and by the SoWa Research Infrastructure funded by MEYS CZ grant LM2015075, programme "Projects of Large Infrastructure for Research, Development, and Innovations".

Supplementary material

11756_2018_8_MOESM1_ESM.docx (250 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 249 kb)


  1. Amundsen P-A, Gabler H-M, Staldvik FJ (1996) A new approach to graphical analysis of feeding strategy from stomach contents data-modification of the Costello (1990) method. J Fish Biol 48:607–614. Google Scholar
  2. Čech M, Čech P, Kubečka J, Prchalová M, Draštík V (2008) Size selectivity in summer and winter diets of great cormorant (Phalacrocorax carbo): does it reflect season-dependent difference in foraging efficiency? Waterbirds 31:438–447. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Čech M, Vejřík L (2011) Winter diet of great cormorant (Phalacrocorax Carbo) on the river Vltava: estimate of size and species composition and potential for fish stock losses. Folia Zool 60:129–142CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Clark FN (1928) The weight–length relationship of the California sardine (Sardina caerulea) at San Pedro. Division of Fish and Game, Fish Bull No 12Google Scholar
  5. Cott PA, Guzzo MM, Chapelsky AJ, Milne SW, Blanchfield PJ (2015) Diel bank migration of burbot (Lota lota). Hydrobiologia 757:3–20. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Cott PA, Johnston TA, Gunn JM (2013a) Sexual dimorphism in an under-ice spawning fish: the burbot (Lota lota). Can J Zool 91:732–740. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Cott PA, Johnston TA, Gunn JM (2013b) Stability in life history characteristics among Burbot populations across environmental gradients. Trans Am Fish Soc 142:1746–1756. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Cutting KA, Cross WF, Anderson ML, Reese EG (2016) Seasonal change in trophic niche of Adfluvial Arctic grayling (Thymallus arcticus) and coexisting fishes in a high-elevation Lake system. PLoS One 11:e0156187. CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  9. Fischer P, Eckmann R (1997) Spatial distribution of littoral fish species in a large European lake, lake Constance, Germany. Arch Hydrobiol 140:91–116. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Fisher SJ, Willis DW, Pope KL (1996) An assessment of burbot (Lota lota) weight length data from north American popuplations. Can J Zool 575:570–575. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Fulton TW (1904) The rate of growth of fishes. Twenty-second annual report, part III. Fisheries Board of Scotland, EdinburghGoogle Scholar
  12. Gallagher CP, Dick TA (2015) Winter feeding ecology and the importance of cannibalism in juvenile and adult burbot (Lota lota) from the Mackenzie Delta, Canada. Hydrobiologia 757:73–88. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Grecay PA, Targett TE (1996) Spatial patterns in condition and feeding of juvenile weakfish in Delaware Bay. Trans Am Fish Soc 125:803–808.<0803:SPICAF>2.3.CO;2 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Griffiths D (2006) Pattern and process in the ecological biogeography of European freshwater fish. J Anim Ecol 75:734–751. CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. Guthruf J, Gerster S, Tschumi P-A (1990) The diet of burbot (Lota lota L.) in Lake Biel, Switzerland. Arch Hydrobiol 119:103–114Google Scholar
  16. Hares CJ, Jonas JL, Leonard JBK (2015) Diet analysis of burbot (Lota lota) from eastern Lake Michigan: 1996–2012. Hydrobiologia 757:89–99. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Harrison PM, Gutowsky LFG, Martins EG, Patterson DA, Cooke SJ, Power M (2015) Personality-dependent spatial ecology occurs independently from dispersal in wild burbot (Lota lota). Behav Ecol 26:483–492. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Harrison PM, Gutowsky LFG, Martins EG, Patterson DA, Cooke SJ, Power M (2016) Temporal plasticity in thermal-habitat selection of burbot Lota lota a diel-migrating winter-specialist. J Fish Biol 88:2111–2129. CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  19. Hofmann N, Fischer P (2003) Impact of temperature on food intake and growth in juvenile burbot. J Fish Biol 63:1295–1305. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Illyova M (2006) Zooplankton of two arms in the Morava River floodplain in Slovakia. Biologia, Bratislava 61:531–539. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Jacobs GR, Madenjian CP, Bunnell DB, Holuszko JD (2010) Diet of lake trout and burbot in northern Lake Michigan during spring: evidence of ecological interaction. J Great Lakes Res 36:312–317. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Jones DR, Kiceniuk JW, Bamford OS (1974) Evaluation of the swimming performance of several fish species from the Mackenzie River. J Fish Res Board Canada 31:1641–1647. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Kahilainen K, Lehtonen H (2003) Piscivory and prey selection of four predator species in a whitefish dominated subarctic lake. J Fish Biol 63:659–672. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Kottelat M, Freyhof J (2007) Handbook of European freshwater fishes. Copeia. Switzerland: Publications Kottelat. 646 p. doi:
  25. Leibold MA (1995) The niche concept revisited: mechanistic models and community context. Ecology 76:1371–1382. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Limburg KE, Waldman JR (2009) Dramatic declines in North Atlantic diadromous fishes. Bioscience 59:955–965. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Pääkkönen J-PJ, Marjomäki TJ (2000) Feeding of burbot, Lota lota, at different tempatures. Environ Biol Fish 58:109–112. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Paragamian VL, Wakkinen VD (2008) Seasonal movement of burbot in relation to temperature and discharge in the Kootenai River, Idaho, USA and British Columbia, Canada. In: Burbot ecology, management, and culture. VL Paragamian, DH Bennett (Eds). Am fish Soc Symp 59, BethesdaGoogle Scholar
  29. R Developement Core Team (2016) R: A Language and Environment for Statistical Computing - Version 3.3.1. R Found Stat ComputGoogle Scholar
  30. Recknagel H, Amos A, Elmer KR (2014) Morphological and ecological variation among populations and subspecies of Burbot (Lota lota [L, 1758]) from the Mackenzie River Delta, Canada. Can field-naturalist 128: 377–384. Doi:
  31. Rozkošný R (ed) (1980) Identification key of insects’s water larvae. Academia, 521 pp. (in Czech)Google Scholar
  32. Ryder RA, Pesendorfer J (1992) Food, growth, habitat, and community interactions of young-of-the-year burbot, Lota lota L., in a Precambrian shield lake. Hydrobiologia 243–244:211–227. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Shuter BJ, Finstad AG, Helland IP, Zweimüller I, Hölker F (2012) The role of winter phenology in shaping the ecology of freshwater fish and their sensitivities to climate change. Aquat Sci 74:637–657. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Sims DW, Wearmouth VJ, Southall EJ, Hill JM, Moore P, Rawlinson K, Hutchinson N, Budd GC, Righton D, Metcalfe JD, Nash JP, Morritt D (2006) Hunt warm, rest cool: bioenergetic strategy underlying diel vertical migration of a benthic shark. J Anim Ecol 75:176–190. CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  35. Slavík O, Bartoš L, Mattas D (2005) Does stream morphology predict the home range size in Burbot? Environ Biol Fish 74:89–98. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Stapanian MA, Paragamian VL, Madenjian CP, Jackson JR, Lappalainen J, Evenson MJ, Neufeld MD (2010) Worldwide status of burbot and conservation measures. Fish Fish 11:34–56. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Stephenson SM, Neufeld MD, Ireland SC, Young S, Hardy RS, Rust P (2013) Survival and dispersal of sonic-tagged, hatchery-reared Burbot released into the Kootenay River. Trans Am Fish Soc 142:1671–1679. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Straškraba M (2005) Reservoirs and other artificial water bodies in: OSullivan P. And Reynolds C. (Eds.), the lakes handbook: Lake restoration and rehabilitation, volume 2. Lackwell science Publ., Osney mead, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  39. Wetzel RG (2001) Limnology: Lake and river ecosystems. Academic Press, San DiegoGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Institute of Zoology, Slovak Academy of Sciences 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Petr Blabolil
    • 1
  • Martin Čech
    • 1
  • Tomáš Jůza
    • 1
  • Luboš Kočvara
    • 1
  • Josef Matěna
    • 1
  • Milan Říha
    • 1
  • Lukáš Vejřík
    • 1
  • Jiří Peterka
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of HydrobiologyBiology Centre of the Czech Academy of SciencesČeské BudějoviceCzech Republic

Personalised recommendations