Diet and fish choice of Eurasian otters (Lutra lutra L.) in fish wintering ponds in Hungary

József Lanszki, Zsuzsanna S. Pallos, Dénes Nagy, Grace Yoxon

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The diet composition and fish preference of piscivorous Eurasian otters (Lutra lutra) were studied in two fish farm systems in Hungary using spraint (otter faeces) analysis during two wintering periods. The primary food source of otters in both fish farms was fish (97-99% of biomass). The main fish prey was small-sized, below 100 g in weight (96% in both areas), while fish prey above 500 g comprised only 0.1-0.4% of the diet. The bulk of the otters' diet consisted of less-valued species, especially non-native Prussian carp (Carassius auratus gibelio). Consumption of commercial fish species ranged between 15 and 31% of the total diet. Otters preferred fish below 100 g in weight (Ivlev's electivity index, Ei = 0.65-0.70), and showed a lesser preference for (or avoided) fish above 100 g in weight (Ei = -0.37-1.00). With regard to species distribution, otters preferred small (below 100 g) grass carp (Ctenopharyngodon idella), zander (Sander lucioperca), pike (Esox lucius), Prussian carp, topmouth gudgeon (Pseudorasbora parva), while they consumed common carp (Cyprinus carpio), the most important commercial species, proportionally to its abundance in the environment (Ei = -0.18-0.29).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)393-402
Number of pages10
JournalAquaculture International
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1 2007



  • Feeding habits
  • Fish preference
  • Hungary
  • Lutra lutra
  • Otter
  • Pond farming
  • Spraint analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aquatic Science
  • Agronomy and Crop Science

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