Feeding strategy and morphology as indicators of habitat use and coexistence of two loricariid fishes from a Brazilian coastal stream
Keywords:ecomorphology, trophic niche overlap, stream-dwelling fish, Atlantic rainforest
AbstractAbstract: We aimed to evaluate the relationship between form and function of two Loricariidae species (Hypostomus punctatus and Parotocinclus maculicauda) from a Neotropical coastal stream. We performed morphological-dietary analysis and discussed their coexistence strategies, as well. We hypothesized that both species use similar food resources according to their morphology but differences in habitat use facilitate their coexistence. In order to test this hypothesis, morphology, diet and habitat use were analyzed for both species. Trophic variance and the Pianka Niche Overlap index were calculated to explore the differences in trophic niche. Correlations between species abundance and water flow were applied to test habitat use. Principal Component Analysis and one Permutational Multivariate Analysis of Variance were applied to test differences between morphology and diet of both species. Morphological-dietary relationships were tested with Mantel test correlations. Total abundance of H. punctatus was higher in the stream channel with higher water flow. The dominant food items were sediment and organic matter for both species, and high trophic niche overlap was revealed. Additionally, morphology did not explain feeding habits for both species. Morphological characteristics were significantly different, especially for intestine length, relative area of the dorsal fin, ventral flattening and mouth attributes. The study site was rich in sand sediment, mud, and clay that are not considered good substrates to the establishment and growing of periphyton, which is an important trophic resource to Loricariidae species. Here, low consumption of periphyton can provide a possible explanation for the feeding similarity and the weak morphological-dietary relationships for both species. Thus, the environmental conditions can be more important for diet composition when compared to the similar and specialized morphology of loricariids.
How to Cite
Manna, L. R., Miranda, J. C., Rezende, C. F., & Mazzoni, R. (2020). Feeding strategy and morphology as indicators of habitat use and coexistence of two loricariid fishes from a Brazilian coastal stream. Biota Neotropica, 20(1). Retrieved from //www.biotaneotropica.org.br/BN/article/view/1705