Through its life stages Minytrema melanops changes from a middepth water predator to a bottom forager. Larvae capture individual zooplankters, adding more types of particles to the diet until, as juveniles, they begin feeding directly on bottom materials. Young suckers feed as schools during the day while the adults are active mainly at dawn and dusk. Adult digestive tracts contained predominantly detritus and zooplankton with occasional benthic invertebrates. Organic fragments were most numerous followed by sand, copepods and cladocerans. The most important food items by volume were copepods, cladocerans and chironomids with organic fragments making up only a fraction of the bulk except in the fish from Goose Creek, Kentucky. Changes in range and abundance of Minytrema may be directly related to stream alterations affecting its food supplies and feeding habits.

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