Claudine Tekounegning Tiogué1, Minette Tabi Eyango Tomedi1,2, David Nguenga3, Guegang Tekou2 and Joseph Tchoumboué1,4

1The University of Dschang, Faculty of Agronomy and Agricultural Sciences, Laboratory of Applied Ichthyology and Hydrobiology, P.O. Box 222, Dschang, Cameroon.
2The University of Douala, Institute of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences of Yabassi, P.O. Box 2701, Douala, Cameroon.
3Regional Centre MINRESI/CRRI-West P.O. Box 665 Bafoussam, Cameroon.
4The University of Mountains, P.O. Box 208, Bangante, Cameroon.

Published 10th July 2014, SCIENCEDOMAIN international

INTRODUCTION
It is now accepted that the development of fish farming currently compensates for the stagnation of fishery catches while the market demand continues to increase [1]. The
development of fish farming relies on an active diversification of farmed fish species. A diversification based on the farming of native species could reduce the environmental impact of fish culture and could better fit to needs of local markets. Such development could also favour a more integrated local economy. It is in this context that new species in many areas of the world were domesticated especially in Amazonia [2] and in the Mekong River Bassin [3]. Moreover, these context world environmental conditions are changing quickly with the depletion of wild fish stocks, the introduction of exotic species and the production of hybrids for aquaculture. Domestication is thus becoming a means of protecting biodiversity. The diversity of fish fauna in Africa is one most extensive of the planet with Approximately 3200 species listed [4]. In spite of this great ichthyological diversity, the fish culture production of alien species is higher than that of autochthonous ones. In Cameroon, as in many countries in Africa, no native species are used in fish farming. The three farmed fish species currently used (Clarias gariepinus, Oreochromis niloticus and Cyprinus carpio) are introduced or naturalised. In the process of domestication, for a given species, the availability of fish seeds is the main constraint, followed by hardiness and markets value [3]. According to Cacot and Lazard [3] the feeding regime is a minor factor but it will most probably soon become crucial due to the scarcity and the high price of animal protein, essential component of fish feed. Fontaine et al. [1] reported that species tested for domestication over the last decades were generally chosen because of their maximum size, which assumed good growth in livestock and / or their acceptance in the local market, or have an omnivorous diet or detrivorous, promoting coverage needs food using less expensive and more readily available inputs. This work on the African carp Labeobarbus batesii fits into this objective. Indeed, Mbô Floodplain is an important scientific and socioeconomic centre in Cameroon, where the fishery improves the incomes and the consumption rates of animal protein of the local people [5]. Apart from studies on the growth and reproductive strategy in the Mbô Floodplain [6,7,8], nothing is known about the diet and feeding ecology of this species, even though it is economically important. Yet the knowledge of the systematic, of the bio-ecology and notably of the trophic relations within an ecosystem is necessary for a lasting exploitation of its resources [9]. This paper therefore provides information on gut vacuity index and food preferences of L. batesii in the Mbô Floodplain Rivers of Cameroon.

ABSTRACT
Aims:
The African cyprinids were not yet used in aquaculture. For domestication and preservation of the African carp Labeobarbus batesii, aspects of feeding habits in term of its aquaculture potential proves necessary.
Place and Duration of Study: Laboratory of Applied Ichthyology and Hydrobiology, Department of Animal Productions, Faculty of Agronomy and Agricultural Sciences,
University of Dschang, Cameroon, from May 2008 to October 2009.
Methodology: 318 fish samples (17 cm to 93.70 cm, means 25.47±4.47 cm of total length; 40 g to 6000 g, means 187.41±125.69 g for total weight) were collected monthly from artisanal fishermen in the Mbô Floodplain Rivers (MF). After fish’s dissection, guts were immediately removed and dissected, empty and replete guts were counted. Food items were identified to lowest possible taxon. They were counted under a stereoscopic binocular microscope in petri dishes. The microscopic food organisms were examined under a light microscope and the identified organisms were counted using Thoma lam. Three indices were used for gut contents analysis: Gut vacuity index, Frequency of occurrence and Percentage of abundance. Descriptive statistics, analysis of variance (ANOVA) and the generalized linear model at P = 0.05 and P = 0.001 probability level were used.
Results: Gut vacuity index was very low (11.95 %), and varied between seasons, zones, sexes and maturity state. Seven taxonomic groups were observed in L. batesii guts: plant foods (macrophyta and algae) are predominant both in frequency and abundance in the diet than animal foods (insects, Crustaceans, Nematoda, Protozoa and other
invertebrates).
Conclusion: Labeobarbus batesii consumes many varieties of animal and plant organisms. This species is benthopelagic, detritivorous and omnivorous with a preference
for plant material.

Authors’ contributions
This work was carried out in collaboration between all authors. Author CTT designed the study, wrote the protocol, performed the statistical analysis and wrote the first draft of the manuscript. Author GT contributed in the analysis of gut contents, so in the data collection.
Authors MTET, DN and JT managed the literature searches and the analyses of the study.
All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

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