The feeding ecology of freshwater fishes in two rivers of the Australian wet tropics
- 1) Centre for Catchment and In-Stream Research, Environmental Sciences, Griffith University, 4111, Nathan, Queensland, Australia
Synopsis: The fish fauna of the Mulgrave and South Johnstone rivers is diverse relative to other Australian rivers and this study examines the diets of many of the resident fish species. Most species were small (< 200 g), and although considerable overlap in the size of the mouth was observed, closely related species tended to have non-overlapping ranges in mouth size. Five trophic guilds were recognised and substantial discrimination between guilds on the basis of body size was noted. Small fishes (< 5 gm body weight) consumed a variety of insect larvae and small terrestrial insects. The diet of large fish was characterised by the presence of large aquatic invertebrates and fish. A third group of intermediate sized fishes (10–20 gm), which included the 0+ age class of three species of large fish, also consumed aquatic invertebrates but only a small proportion of terrestrial invertebrates. Vegetable material was present in the diet of all three guilds but the source of that material varied. In groups 1 to 3 above, the source of that material was desmids and diatoms, aquatic macrophytes or filamentous alga respectively. A fourth guild fed predominately on detritus and some bivalve molluscs, and a fifth group, containing only two species, fed feavily on gastropod molluscs. The extent of dietary overlap varied both within- and between-rivers. In habitats dominated by low water velocities and sandy substrates, resource partitioning was pronounced and the number of fishes with empty or near empty guts was high, suggesting that food was more limited in this type of habitats. Little resource partitioning was observed in habitats characterised by a coarse substrate, high water velocity and dense riparian canopy.
- 1 - sciences appliquees, technologies et medecines
- 2 - sciences biologiques et medicales
- 3 - sciences biologiques fondamentales et appliquees. psychologie
- 1 - Life Sciences ; 2 - Agricultural and Biological Sciences ; 3 - Aquatic Science
- 1 - Life Sciences ; 2 - Agricultural and Biological Sciences ; 3 - Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics