Factors affecting the local occurrence of the near-threatened bitterling (Tanakia lanceolata) in agricultural canal networks: strong attachment to its potential host mussels
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Ecologically specialized species may be more susceptible to anthropogenic impacts than generalist species. Japan’s native bitterlings (subfamily Acheilognathinae), which are specialized to spawn on the gills of certain freshwater mussels, have been declining dramatically during the last few decades. To identify factors affecting the local occurrence of the threatened bitterling species Tanakia lanceolata, we measured its presence and absence, along with several environmental factors, at 68 sites within agricultural canal networks in the Lake Mikata basin, Fukui Prefecture, Japan. Based on the theoretical information approach of Akaike’s information criterion, generalized linear mixed models were constructed. These revealed that the species’ occurrence is strongly affected by five major factors: the presence of freshwater mussels Anodonta sp., water depth, floating plants coverage, the presence of bullfrogs, and submerged plants coverage. The probability of the presence of T. lanceolata was higher at shallower sites with lower floating plants coverage, located within channels containing mussel beds. These results suggest that mussel-containing channel systems are high-priority conservation zones for T. lanceolata.
KeywordsAcheilognathinae Alien species Bitterling Connectivity Freshwater mussel Symbiosis
The authors sincerely thank Editor Dr. Luis Mauricio Bini and two other reviewers for their valuable and useful comments that helped in improving the manuscript. The authors are sincerely grateful to the members of Fukui Prefectural Coastal Nature Center for assistance in the field. The authors also thank Dr. Munemitsu Akasaka and Dr. Akira Yoshioka for their help with statistical analyses. Finally, the authors sincerely thank Dr. Takehito Yoshida, Dr. Jun Nishihiro, Dr. Jun Ishii, Takahiro Morosawa, and Dr. Junichi Kitamura for their important comments on the earlier drafts of this article. This study was partly supported by the Environmental Technology Development Fund, the Ministry of the Environmental of Japan (no. D-0910), and a Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research (B) from the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, Japan (no. 22310143).
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