, Volume 39, Issue 4, pp 473-484
Date: 14 Oct 2005

The survival of Sicyopterus stimpsoni, an endemic amphidromous Hawaiian gobiid fish, relies on the hydrological cycles of streams: evidence from changes in algal composition of diet through growth stages fish

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Abstract

Gut contents of larval, juvenile, and adult specimens of the Hawaiian gobiid fish Sicyopterus stimpsoni were examined to catalog the algal flora ingested by this species. The developmental stages of S. stimpsoni examined represented hallmark points in the fish’s life cycle corresponding with major migratory and metamorphic transitions. The algal flora was dominated by diatom species and shifted from taxa representative of a marine, planktonic community in larval fish to a freshwater, benthic community in juvenile and adult fish. This change in diet corresponds with the migration of larval fish to freshwater streams just prior to juvenile development in which rapid modification in mouth anatomy makes ingestion of planktonic algal species difficult. Benthic diatoms from juvenile and adult fish assemblages represented multiple genera that live in a narrow set of environmental conditions. These algae grow during a specific period in the development of the benthic algal community in Hawaiian streams. This suggests a highly specialized dietary behavior that depends heavily on continually restarting the benthic algal successional pattern, which appears to be regulated by the hydrological cycles of streams on the island.