Ann. Limnol. - Int. J. Lim.
Volume 47, Number 3, 2011
|Page(s)||269 - 280|
|Published online||09 August 2011|
Planktivory in non-indigenous fish and implications for trophic interactions in a Mediterranean shallow lake
Department of Biology and Centre for Marine and Environmental Research (CESAM), University of Aveiro, 3810-193 Aveiro, Portugal
* Corresponding author: email@example.com
Accepted: 18 April 2011
Similar to other Mediterranean lakes, Lake Vela displays a marked dominance of alien species, but the impact of such an assemblage on the lower trophic levels of shallow eutrophic lakes has been overlooked. In this study, zooplanktivory in the omnivorous fish assemblage of Lake Vela was examined from April to October 2003 (and also in January 2004). During this period, ichthyocenosis was characterized by abundance of juvenile fish, which strongly depended on zooplankton. Adult mosquitofish (Gambusia holbrooki) and pumpkinseed (Lepomis gibbosus) foraged on the same zooplanktonic prey than juveniles, although planktivory was less important in larger fish. Using multivariate analysis, it was possible to attribute most of the variability in planktivory to resource availability, as both fish foraged on the most abundant prey in each month. Albeit this opportunistic behaviour, mosquitofish was found to be positively selective towards small-sized littoral cladocerans, while pumpkinseed displayed positive selection towards Alona and Daphnia. In the absence of more efficient planktivores, pumpkinseed is now the main planktivore in Lake Vela and the main predator of Daphnia. However, due to low densities of Daphnia during most of the study period, Daphnia was virtually absent from the diet of pumpkinseed from June to October, a period during which this benthi–planktivore foraged chiefly on less-rewarding planktonic prey (small-sized cladocerans and cyclopoid copepods). Mosquitofish was an important planktivore in littoral and structured habitats. Flexible foraging behaviour partly explains the success of these two species in Lake Vela.
Key words: Zooplanktivory / alien fish / Gambusia holbrooki / Lepomis gibbosus / Mediterranean shallow lake
© EDP Sciences, 2011
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