This study addressed the feeding ecology of fish fauna from a first-order stream located in a rural area. The purposes were to evaluate the influence of interspecific, seasonal and spatial factors on the diet, examine the dietary overlap, and determine the predominant food sources. Sampling was conducted in December 2007, September 2008, and March 2009, in three 50-m stretches of Itiz stream (upstream, intermediate, and downstream), through electrofishing. A total of 1,102 stomach contents were analyzed from 14 species, by the volumetric method. In general, allochthonous resources were predominant in the diets. Astyanax aff. fasciatus, Astyanax aff. paranae, Astyanax bockmanni, and Bryconamericus aff. iheringi consumed a higher proportion of plant remains, and Bryconamericus stramineus consumed predominantly Hymenoptera. The diets of Cetopsorhamdia iheringi, Characidium aff. zebra, Imparfinis schubarti, and Trichomycterus sp. consisted of aquatic insects, especially immature forms of Trichoptera, Ephemeroptera, Plecoptera, and Diptera. Hypostomus ancistroides, Hisonotus sp., Poecilia reticulata, and Rineloricaria aff. pentamaculata exploited mainly detritus, while Rhamdia quelen used a variety of items, predominantly terrestrial insects. Detrended Correspondence Analysis (DCA) showed a clear distinction among the species, with different morphology and feeding tactics. The Multi-Response Permutation Procedure (MRPP) supported this differentiation, and also indicated significant spatial and temporal variations in the dietary composition; the Indicator Value Method (IndVal) indicated the main items that contributed to these differences. The diet overlap among species was low (< 0.4) to around 78% of pairs, and the mean value did not vary significantly among the sites or between hydrological periods within each site. According to the null model of Pianka's index, the values for dietary overlap were significantly higher than expected at random, showing evidence of resource sharing. This was related to the availability of allochthonous resources, highlighting the importance of riparian vegetation as a source of these resources for maintaining the fish fauna of the stream.Este estudo abordou a ecologia alimentar da ictiofauna de um riacho de primeira ordem situado em área rural. Os objetivos foram verificar a influência dos fatores interespecíficos, sazonais e espaciais sobre a dieta, avaliar a sobreposição alimentar, além de determinar os recursos alimentares predominantes. As amostragens foram realizadas em dezembro/2007, setembro/ 2008 e março/2009, em três pontos do riacho Itiz (montante, intermediário e foz) com extensões de 50 m, através de pesca elétrica. Foram analisados 1102 conteúdos estomacais referentes a 14 espécies de acordo com o método volumétrico. De forma geral observou-se que a maior contribuição na dieta das espécies foi de recursos alóctones. Astyanax aff. fasciatus, Astyanax aff. paranae, Astyanax bockmanni, Bryconamericus aff. iheringi, consumiram maior proporção de vegetal e Bryconamericus stram...
Itiz Stream is a first order tributary of the Ivaí River basin, located in a rural area of Marialva municipality, Paraná state. Fish were sampled in October, November and December 2007, September 2008 and March 2009, using electrofishing and a sieve technique in three stretches along the stream. We collected 20 species belonging to 13 genera, seven families and three orders. Only Poecilia reticulata was considered non-native species and five are probably undescribed.
Body size has many ecological and evolutionary implications that extend across multiple levels of organization. Body size is often positively correlated with species traits such as metabolism, prey size and trophic position (TP) due to physiological and mechanical constraints. We used stable isotope analysis to quantify TP among minnows across multiple assemblages that differed in their species composition, diversity and food web structure. Body size significantly predicted TP across different lineages and assemblages, and indicated a significant negative relationship. The observed negative relationship between body size and TP is contrary to conventional knowledge, and is likely to have arisen owing to highly clade-specific patterns, such that clades consist of either large benthic species or small pelagic species. Cyprinids probably subvert the physiological and mechanical constraints that generally produce a positive relationship between body size and TP using anatomical modifications and by consuming small-bodied prey, respectively. The need for herbivorous cyprinids to digest cellulose-rich foods probably selected for larger bodies to accommodate longer intestinal tracts and thereby to facilitate digestion of nutrient-poor resources, such as algae. Therefore, body size and TP are likely to have coevolved in cyprinids in association with specialization along the benthic to pelagic resource axis.
Fish diets have been traditionally studied through the direct visual identification of food items found in their stomachs. Stomach contents of Vandeliinae and Stegophilinae (family Trichomycteridae) parasite catfishes, however, cannot be identified by usual optical methods due to their mucophagic, lepidophagic, or hematophagic diets, in such a way that the trophic interactions and the dynamics of food webs in aquatic systems involving these catfishes are mostly unknown. The knowledge about trophic interactions, including difficult relation between parasites and hosts, are crucial to understand the whole working of food webs. In this way, molecular markers can be useful to determine the truly hosts of these catfishes, proving a preference in their feeding behavior for specific organisms and not a generalist. Sequences of cytochrome oxidase subunit 1 (COI) were successfully extracted and amplified from mucus or scales found in the stomach contents of two species of stegophilines, Homodiaetus anisitsi, and Pseudostegophilus maculatus, to identify the host species. The two species were found to be obligatory mucus-feeders and occasionally lepidophagic. Selection of host species is associated to host behavior, being constituted mainly by substrate-sifting benthivores. Characiformes are preferred hosts, but host choice depends on what characiform species are available in their environments, usually corresponding to the most abundant species. This is the first time that host species of parasitic fishes bearing mucophagous habits are identified, and demonstrates the effectiveness of the extraction and amplification of mitochondrial DNA from the ingested mucus in gut contents. The molecular markers effectively allowed determine parasite preferences and helps in better understanding the food web and trophic interaction on which fish species are involved. Despite, the methodology applied here can be used for an infinitive of organisms improving ecological trophic studies.
Alterations in natural landscapes, mainly caused by anthropic pressures, have been threatening the world’s biomes, including aquatic environments and its biota. This study describes the diet of Bryconamericus iheringii, and how its body shape relates to environmental variables in populations of 22 streams. A wide array of food items were found, mainly composed of allochthonous plants (50.5%) and autochthonous invertebrates (25.2%). Even though food items remained almost the same, the predominant food group significantly differed among streams, mainly in relation to environmental characteristics. There was variation in body shape primarily associated with body depth and length of the pre-dorsal region; however, these differences did not correspond with streams. PLS-CA analyses indicated that environmental characteristics, such as substrate type, percentage of marginal vegetation have some influence over food items availability but not on body shape. This may be because B. iheringii is a non-specialist species capable of prey switching based on availability due to an intermediate body shape suited for generalist feeding habits.
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