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Fishes occupy the foremost position as biological control agents of mosquito immature. They not only devour effectively on mosquito larvae but quickly adapt themselves to the changed ecological conditions, multiply and control mosquito breeding on self-perpetuating basis. In a present study two easily available indigenous fishes Pethia ticto and Barilius bendelisis were considered to evaluate the feeding preference and the effect of alternative prey on larval feeding efficacy. For food preference test, mosquito larvae, mosquito pupae, chironomid larvae and artificial fish food were considered. The live foods were gathered from the possible water lodging areas and artificial foods from aquarium shops. The first experiments were conducted on a food efficacy test of the varying length size of selected fish on only mosquito larvae and pupae as food. Second experiments were conducted by providing equal number of different food items- mosquito larvae, mosquito pupae, chironomid larvae and artificial fish food in the same container.
Both the fish prefer maximum consumption of live and wriggly food than artificial stationery food. By all length sizes of Pethia ticto consumed a maximum number of chironomid larvae followed by mosquito larvae, mosquito pupae and artificial food in succeeding order. While Barilius bendelisis prefer to consume mosquito larvae as the top choice, followed by mosquito pupae, chironomid and artificial food. In both fish, as increasing length size consumption rate of food increases significantly. Tested consumption data of both fishes were statistically represented by Mean±SD and differences of means was analysed by ANOVA. The food preferences of both fish directly depend on their feeding habits. As Pethia ticto are column feeder maximum attraction is shown with chironomid and mosquito larvae whereas Barilius bendelisis are surface feeder they easily found mosquito larvae and pupae and prefer to consume higher. Thus, the two selected indigenous fishes could be used as biocontrol agents of mosquito immature.
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