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Revista de Biología Tropical

On-line version ISSN 0034-7744Print version ISSN 0034-7744


FERREIRA REZENDE, Carla et al. Prey selection by two benthic fish species in a Mato Grosso stream, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Rev. biol. trop [online]. 2011, vol.59, n.4, pp.1697-1706. ISSN 0034-7744.

Key to understand predator choice is the relationship between predator and prey abundance. There are few studies related to prey selection and availability. Such an approach is still current, because the ability to predict aspects of the diet in response to changes in prey availability is one of the major problems of trophic ecology. The general objective of this study was to evaluate prey selection by two species (Characidium cf. vidali and Pimelodella lateristriga) of the Mato Grosso stream, in Saquarema, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Benthos and fishes were collected in June, July and September of 2006 and January and February of 2007. Fish were collected with electric fishing techniques and benthos with a surber net. Densities of benthic organisms were expressed as the number of individuals per/m2. After sampling, the invertebrates were fixed in 90% ethanol, and, in the laboratory, were identified to the lowest taxonomical level. Approximately, seventy individuals from each species were selected randomly in each month. Fishes were fixed in 10% formalin in the field and transferred to 70o GL ethanol in the laboratory. Fishes had their stomachs removed for subsequent analysis. Fish diet was described according to the numeric frequency method. The Manly Electivity I ndex was applied in order to verify prey selection. The most abundant families in both benthos and diet of both fish species were the same, indicating that these species consume mainly most abundant prey in the environment. We concluded that prey selection occurs even for preys that had small abundance in the environment . However, it is the availability of the macroinvertebrate resources that determines the major composition of items in diet of fish, demonstrating that the abundance is the factor that most influences the choice of prey. Rev. Biol. Trop. 59 (4): 1697-1706. Epub 2011 December 01.

Keywords : electivity; trophic ecology; neotropical; stream fish.

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