Biological Invasions

, Volume 11, Issue 8, pp 1789–1801 | Cite as

Fish fauna destruction after the introduction of a non-native predator (Cichla kelberi) in a Neotropical reservoir

  • Fernando Mayer Pelicice
  • Angelo Antonio Agostinho
Original Paper


In South America, the introduction of peacock-bass (Cichla), a voracious predator fish, has been an underestimated threat for native fish communities. Although this predator is widespread in many reservoirs, few studies have explored its impact on biodiversity. To investigate the relationship between invasion and fish diversity, the present study followed a natural experiment in the Rosana Reservoir (Paraná River basin), where Cichla kelberi were introduced in 2004. We monitored fish assemblages associated with submerged macrophytes between 2003 and 2007, using a 1 m2 throw trap. In the years following the introduction, fish diversity dramatically changed. For example, in March 2007, mean fish density and richness were reduced by ca. 95 and 80%, respectively, and many small-sized species had vanished. One aspect was the gradual change of biodiversity, which unfolded at two times during each year: (1) impacts during summer/autumn periods, which coincided with large shoals of young C. kelberi in the patches; and (2) assemblage recovery during the spring. The sequence of extinction-colonization events, however, might not be able to maintain fish assemblages due to the decrease in recovery intensity each spring; assuming a constant decline rate in the coming years, we predict complete assemblage extinction by the summer of 2010. Results from this natural experiment provided evidence supporting the collapse of fish assemblages soon after the introduction of C. kelberi. Such rapid destruction (2 years) reveals an important homogenizing force behind this predator and stresses the need for control measures that prevent new transferences among South American basins.


Biodiversity loss Egeria Fish introduction Impact Natural experiment Peacock-bass Predation 


  1. Abujanra F (2007) Influência do represamento na transparência da água e na proliferação de um predador visual não nativo (Cichla kelberi). Dissertation, Universidade Estadual de MaringáGoogle Scholar
  2. Agostinho AA, Bini LM, Gomes LC, Julio Junior HF, Pavanelli CS, Agostinho CS (2004) Fish assemblages. In: Thomaz SM, Agostinho AA, Hahn NS (eds) The upper Paraná River and its floodplain: physical aspects, ecology and conservation. Backhuys Publishers, Leiden, pp 223–246Google Scholar
  3. Agostinho AA, Thomaz SM, Gomes LC (2005) Conservation of the biodiversity of Brazil’s inland waters. Conserv Biol 19(3):646–652. doi:10.1111/j.1523-1739.2005.00701.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Agostinho AA, Gomes LC, Pelicice FM (2007a) Ecologia e manejo de recursos pesqueiros em reservatórios do Brasil. Eduem, MaringáGoogle Scholar
  5. Agostinho AA, Pelicice FM, Petry AC, Gomes LC, Julio Junior HF (2007b) Fish diversity in the upper Paraná River basin: habitats, fisheries, management and conservation. Aquat Ecosyst Health Manag 10(2):174–186. doi:10.1080/14634980701341719 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bacheler NM, Neal JW, Noble RL (2004) Diet overlap between native bigmouth (Gobiomorus dormitor) and introduced predatory fishes in a Puerto Rico Reservoir. Ecol Freshw Fish 13:111–118. doi:10.1111/j.1600-0633.2004.00040.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Byers JE (2002) Impact of non-indigenous species on natives enhanced by anthropogenic alteration of selection regimes. Oikos 97(3):449–458. doi:10.1034/j.1600-0706.2002.970316.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Cambray JA (2003) Impact on indigenous species biodiversity caused by the globalization of alien recreational freshwater fisheries. Hydrobiologia 500:217–230. doi:10.1023/A:1024648719995 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Casatti L, Mendes HF, Ferreira KM (2003) Aquatic macrophytes as feeding site for small fishes in the Rosana Reservoir, Paranapanema River, southeastern Brazil. Braz J Biol 63(2):213–222. doi:10.1590/S1519-69842003000200006 PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Chellappa S, Câmara MR, Chellappa NT (2003) Ecology of Cichla monoculus (Osteichthyes: Cichlidae) from a reservoir in the semi-arid region of Brazil. Hydrobiologia 504:267–273. doi:10.1023/B:HYDR.0000008526.83477.2f CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Clavero M, García-Berthou E (2005) Invasive species are a leading cause of animal extinctions. Trends Ecol Evol 20(3):110. doi:10.1016/j.tree.2005.01.003 PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Colwell RK (1997) EstimateS: statistical estimation of species richness and shared species from samples (software and user’s guide), version 5.
  13. Diamond J (1986) Overview: laboratory experiments, field experiments, and natural experiments. In: Diamond J, Case TJ (eds) Community ecology. Harper and Row, New York, pp 3–22Google Scholar
  14. Eby LA, Roach WJ, Crowder LB, Stanford JA (2006) Effects of stocking-up freshwater food webs. Trends Ecol Evol 21(10):576–584. doi:10.1016/j.tree.2006.06.016 PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Gido KB, Brown JH (1999) Invasion of North American drainages by alien fish species. Freshw Biol 42:387–399. doi:10.1046/j.1365-2427.1999.444490.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Godinho FN, Ferreira MT (2000) Composition of endemic fish assemblages in relation to exotic species and river regulation in a temperate stream. Biol Invasions 2:231–244. doi:10.1023/A:1010022123669 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Godinho AL, Fonseca MT, Araújo LM (1994) The ecology of predator fish introductions: the case of Rio Doce valley lakes. In: Pinto-Coelho RM, Giani A, Von Sperling E (eds) Ecology and human impact on lakes and reservoirs in Minas Gerais, with special reference to future development and management strategies. Segrac, Belo Horizonte, pp 77–83Google Scholar
  18. Gomiero LM, Braga FMS (2004) Feeding of introduced species of Cichla (Perciformes, Cichlidae) in Volta Grande Reservoir, River Grande (MG/SP). Braz J Biol 64(4):787–795. doi:10.1590/S1519-69842004000500008 PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Graça WJ, Pavanelli CS (2007) Peixes da planície de inundação do alto rio Paraná e áreas adjacentes. Eduem, MaringáGoogle Scholar
  20. Gratwicke B, Marshall BE (2001) The relationship between the exotic predators Micropterus salmoides and Serranochromis robustus and native stream fishes in Zimbabwe. J Fish Biol 58:68–75. doi:10.1111/j.1095-8649.2001.tb00499.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Havel JE, Lee CE, Vander Zanden MJ (2005) Do reservoirs facilitate invasions into landscapes? Bioscience 55:515–525. doi:10.1641/0006-3568(2005)055[0518:DRFIIL]2.0.CO;2 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Holway DA, Suarez AV (1999) Animal behavior: an essential component of invasion biology. Trends Ecol Evol 14(8):328–330. doi:10.1016/S0169-5347(99)01636-5 PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Jacobsen L, Perrow MR (1998) Predation risk from piscivorous fish influencing the diel use of macrophytes by planktivorous fish in experimental ponds. Ecol Freshw Fish 7:78–86. doi:10.1111/j.1600-0633.1998.tb00174.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Jepsen DB, Winemiller KO, Taphorn DC (1997) Temporal patterns of resources partitioning among Cichla species in a venezuelan blackwater river. J Fish Biol 51:1085–1108Google Scholar
  25. Jones I, Sayer CD (2003) Does the fish-invertebrate-periphyton cascade precipitate plant loss in shallow lakes? Ecology 84(8):2155–2167. doi:10.1890/02-0422 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Kaufman L (1992) Catastrophic change in species-rich freshwater ecosystems: the lessons of Lake Victoria. Bioscience 42(11):846–858. doi:10.2307/1312084 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Kolar CS, Lodge DM (2002) Ecological predictions and risk assessment for alien fish in North America. Science 298:1233–1236. doi:10.1126/science.1075753 PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Kullander SO, Ferreira EJG (2006) A review of the South American cichlid genus Cichla, with descriptions of nine new species (Teleostei: Cichlidae). Ichthyol Explor Freshw 17:289–398Google Scholar
  29. Latini AO, Petrere Junior M (2004) Reduction of a native fish fauna by alien species: an example from Brazilian freshwater tropical lakes. Fish Manag Ecol 11(2):71–79. doi:10.1046/j.1365-2400.2003.00372.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Light T, Marchetti MP (2007) Distinguishing between invasions and habitat changes as drivers of diversity loss among California’s freshwater fishes. Conserv Biol 21(2):434–446. doi:10.1111/j.1523-1739.2006.00643.x PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Lodge DM, Shrader-Frechette K (2002) Nonindigenous species: ecological explanation, environmental ethics, and public policy. Conserv Biol 17(1):31–37. doi:10.1046/j.1523-1739.2003.02366.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Luiz EA, Petry AC, Pavanelli CS, Julio Junior HF, Latini JD, Domingues VM (2005) As assembléias de peixes de reservatórios hidrelétricos do Estado do Paraná e bacias limítrofes. In: Rodrigues L, Thomaz SM, Agostinho AA, Gomes LC (eds) Biocenoses em reservatórios: padrões espaciais e temporais. RiMa, São Carlos, pp 169–184Google Scholar
  33. Macchi PJ, Cussac VE, Alonso MF, Denegri MA (1999) Predation relationships between introduced salmonids and the native fish fauna in lakes and reservoirs in northern Patagonia. Ecol Freshw Fish 8:227–236. doi:10.1111/j.1600-0633.1999.tb00074.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Mack RN, Simberloff D, Lonsdale WM, Evans H, Clout M, Bazzaz FA (2000) Biotic invasions: causes, epidemiology, global consequences, and control. Ecol Appl 10:689–710. doi:10.1890/1051-0761(2000)010[0689:BICEGC]2.0.CO;2 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. McCune B, Mefford MJ (1997) PCORD for windows: multivariate analysis of ecological data. Version 3.15. MjM Software, OregonGoogle Scholar
  36. McKaye KR, Ryan JD, Stauffer JR Jr, Lopez Perez LJ, Vega GI, Van Den Berghe EP (1995) African tilapia in Lake Nicaragua: ecosystem in transition. Bioscience 45(6):406–411. doi:10.2307/1312721 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Moyle PB, Light T (1996) Biological invasions of freshwater: empirical rules and assembly theory. Biol Conserv 78:149–161. doi:10.1016/0006-3207(96)00024-9 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Novaes JLC, Caramaschi EP, Winemiller KO (2004) Feeding of Cichla monoculus Spix, 1829 (Teleostei: Cichlidae) during and after reservoir formation in the Tocantins River, Central Brazil. Acta Limnol Bras 16(1):41–49Google Scholar
  39. Oliveira AV, Prioli AJ, Prioli SMA, Bignotto TS, Julio Junior HF, Carrer H et al (2006) Genetic diversity of invasive and native Cichla (Pisces: Perciformes) populations in Brazil with evidence on interspecific hybridization. J Fish Biol 69:260–277. doi:10.1111/j.1095-8649.2006.01291.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Paiva MP, Petrere Junior M, Petenate AJ, Nepomuceno FH, Vasconcelos EA (1994) Relationship between the number of predatory fish species and fish yield in large northeastern Brazilian reservoirs. In: Cowx IG (ed) Rehabilitation of freshwater fisheries. Fishing News Books, Osney Mead, pp 120–129Google Scholar
  41. Pelicice FM (2007) A introdução de Cichla kelberi Kullander & Ferreira determinando a destruição de assembléias de peixes associadas a bancos de Egeria no reservatório de Rosana, rio Paranapanema. Dissertation, Universidade Estadual de MaringáGoogle Scholar
  42. Pelicice FM, Agostinho AA (2006) Feeding ecology of fishes associated with Egeria spp. patches in a tropical reservoir, Brazil. Ecol Freshw Fish 15(1):10–19. doi:10.1111/j.1600-0633.2005.00121.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Pelicice FM, Agostinho AA, Thomaz SM (2005) Fish assemblages associated with Egeria in a tropical reservoir: investigating the effects of plant biomass and diel period. Acta Oecol 27:9–16. doi:10.1016/j.actao.2004.08.004 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Pelicice FM, Thomaz SM, Agostinho AA (in press) Simple relationships to predict attributes of fish assemblages in patches of submerged macrophytes. Neotropical IchthyolGoogle Scholar
  45. Rahel FJ (2007) Biogeographic barriers, connectivity and homogenization of freshwater faunas: it’s a small world after all. Freshw Biol 52:696–710. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2427.2006.01708.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Rodríguez JP (2001) Exotic species introductions into South America: an underestimated threat? Biodivers Conserv 10:1983–1996. doi:10.1023/A:1013151722557 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Santos GB, Maia-Barbosa PM, Vieira F, López CM (1994) Fish and zooplankton community structure in reservoirs of southeastern Brazil: effects of the introduction of exotic predatory fish. In: Pinto-Coelho RM, Giani A, Von Sperling E (eds) Ecology and human impact on lakes and reservoirs in Minas Gerais, with special reference to future development and management strategies. Segrac, Belo Horizonte, pp 115–132Google Scholar
  48. Santos LN, Gonzáles AF, Araújo FG (2001) Dieta do tucunaré-amarelo Cichla monoculus (Bloch & Schneider) (Osteichthyes, Cichlidae), no reservatório de Lajes, Rio de Janeiro, Brasil. Rev Bras Zool 18:191–204Google Scholar
  49. Savino JF, Stein RA (1989) Behavioral interactions between fish predators and their prey: effects of plant density. Anim Behav 37:311–321. doi:10.1016/0003-3472(89)90120-6 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Shea K, Chesson P (2002) Community ecology theory as a framework for biological invasions. Trends Ecol Evol 17(4):170–176. doi:10.1016/S0169-5347(02)02495-3 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Simberloff D (2003) Confronting introduced species: a form of xenophobia? Biol Invasions 5(3):179–192. doi:10.1023/A:1026164419010 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Statsoft (2005) Statistica (data analysis software system). Version 7.1. StatSoft Inc., TulsaGoogle Scholar
  53. Stuart-Smith RD, Stuart-Smith JF, White RWG, Barmuta LA (2007) The impact of an introduced predator on a threatened galaxiid fish is reduced by the availability of complex habitats. Freshw Biol 52:1555–1563. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2427.2007.01787.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Townsend CR (2003) Individual, population, community, and ecosystem consequences of a fish invader in New Zealand streams. Conserv Biol 17(1):38–47. doi:10.1046/j.1523-1739.2003.02017.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Ward DM, Newman RM (2006) Fish predation on Eurasian watermilfoil (Myriophyllum spicatum) herbivores and indirect effects on macrophytes. Can J Fish Aquat Sci 63(5):1049–1057. doi:10.1139/F06-010 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Winemiller KO, Taphorn DC, Barbarino-Duque A (1997) Ecology of Cichla (Cichlidae) in two blackwater rivers of Southern Venezuela. Copeia 4:690–696. doi:10.2307/1447287 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Zaret TM, Paine RT (1973) Species introduction in a tropical lake. Science 182:449–455. doi:10.1126/science.182.4111.449 PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Fernando Mayer Pelicice
    • 1
    • 3
  • Angelo Antonio Agostinho
    • 2
  1. 1.Graduate Course in Ecology of Inland Aquatic EcosystemsMaringá State UniversityMaringáBrazil
  2. 2.Department of Biology/NUPELIAMaringá State UniversityMaringáBrazil
  3. 3.Universidade Federal do Tocantins—NeambPorto NacionalBrazil

Personalised recommendations