, Volume 740, Issue 1, pp 101–113 | Cite as

Feeding Ecology of Padogobius nigricans (Canestrini, 1867) and P. bonelli (Bonaparte, 1846) in Aggia River (Umbria, Italy) and Their Diet Overlap

  • Laura PompeiEmail author
  • Daniela Giannetto
  • Massimo Lorenzoni
Primary Research Paper


The Arno goby Padogobius nigricans is an endemic species to Central Italy. The populations of this species are in sharp decline due to habitat modifications and potentially competition with Padanian goby Padogobius bonelli, an endemic species to Northern Italy, introduced in some watercourses of Central Italy. The purposes of this paper were to analyze dietary composition of the two species, determine the degree of overlap in their diets and investigate the feeding ecology of P. nigricans in terms of absence and presence of the alien species. Specimens were collected from the Aggia River, a tributary of Tiber River. Gut contents were analyzed and prey items were identified to the lowest recognizable taxa and counted. All the obtained results showed that P. nigricans and P. bonelli in the Aggia River share a similar diet. Both species fed extensively on Chironomids and no statistically significant ontogenetic changes in feeding habits were found. A high degree of diet overlap was observed. Diet of P. nigricans and P. bonelli also included fish and where the species live in syntopy, individuals belonging to Padogobius genus were found in stomach, suggesting that mutual predation may occur.


Padogobius nigricans Padogobius bonelli Diet composition Feeding strategy Predation Non-native species 



We are grateful to Dott. Enzo Goretti and Prof. Carla Corallini for their valuable help in the identification of Macroinvertebrates.


  1. Amundsen, P. A., H. M. Gabler & F. J. Staldvik, 1996. A new approach to graphical analysis of feeding strategy from stomach content data—modification of the Costello (1990) method. Journal of Fish Biology 48: 607–614.Google Scholar
  2. Bagenal, T. B., 1978. Fish production in freshwater. Blackwell, London.Google Scholar
  3. Bianco, P.G., 1987. L’inquadramento zoogeografico dei pesci d’acqua dolce d’Italia e problemi determinati dalle falsificazioni faunistiche. Biologia e gestione dell’ittiofauna autoctona. Atti II Convegno dell’Associazione Italiana Ittiologi delle Acque Dolci, Torino: 41–66.Google Scholar
  4. Bianco, P. G. & V. Ketmaier, 2001. Anthropogenic changes in the freshwater fish fauna of Italy, with reference to the central region and Barbus graellsii, a newly established alien species of Iberian origin. Journal of Fish Biology 59: 190–208.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Carosi, A., M. Mearelli, G. Giovinazzo, M.L. Petesse & M. Lorenzoni, 1996. Distribuzione ed ecologia del ghiozzo di ruscello (Padogobius nigricans Canestrini) nella rete idrografica del bacino del F.Tevere. Atti VI° Convegno AIIAD, Varese Ligure, 6–8 giugno, 1996.Google Scholar
  6. Clarke, K. & R. Warwick, 1994. Change in Marine Communities: An Approach to Statistical Analysis and Interpretation. Natural Environment Research Council, Plymouth Marine Laboratory, Plymouth.Google Scholar
  7. Corkum, L. D., M. R. Sapota & K. E. Skora, 2004. The round goby, Neogobius melanostomus, a fish invader on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean. Biological Invasions 6: 173–181.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Copp, G. H., P. G. Bianco, N. Bogutskaya, T. Erős, I. Falka, M. T. Ferreira, M. G. Fox, J. Freyhof, R. E. Gozlan, J. Grabowska, V. Kováč, R. Moreno-Amich, A. M. Naseka, M. Peňáz, M. Povž, M. Przybylski, M. Robillard, I. C. Russell, S. Stakėnas, S. Šumer, A. Vila-Gispert & C. Wiesner, 2005. To be, or not to be, a non-native freshwater fish? Journal of Applied Ichthyology 21: 242–262.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Costello, M. J., 1990. Predator feeding strategy and prey importance: a new graphical analysis. Journal of Fish Biology 36: 261–263.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Crivelli, A.J., 2006. Padogobius nigricans. In: IUCN 2014. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.1Google Scholar
  11. Dubs, D. O. L. & L. D. Corkum, 1996. Behavioral interactions between round gobies (Neogobius melanostomus) and mottled sculpins (Cottus bairdi). Journal of Great Lakes Research 22: 838–844.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. French, J. R. P. & D. J. Jude, 2001. Diets and diet overlap of non-indigenous gobies and small benthic native fishes co-inhabiting the St. Clair River, Michigan. Journal of Great Lakes Research 27: 300–311.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Gandolfi, G., S. Zerunian, P. Torricelli & A. Marconato, 1991. I pesci delle acque interne italiane. Istituto Poligrafico e Zecca dello Stato, Roma.Google Scholar
  14. Hammer, Ø., D. A. T. Harper & P. D. Ryan, 2001. PAST: Paleontological Statistics Software Package for Education and Data Analysis. Palaeontologia Electronica 4, 9. Available on internet at
  15. Hickeley, P., R. North, S. M. Muchiri & D. M. Harper, 1994. The diet of largemouth bass, Micropterus salmoides, in Lake Navaisha, Kenia. Journal of Fish Biology 44: 607–619.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Hyslop, E. J., 1980. Stomach contents analysis—a review of methods and their application. Journal of Fish Biology 7: 411–429.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Janssen, J. & D. Jude, 2001. Recruitment failure of mottled sculpin Cottus bairdi in Calumet Harbor, southern Lake Michigan, induced by the newly introduced round goby Neogobius melanostomus. Journal of Great Lakes Research 27: 319–328.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Karlson, A. M. L., G. Almqvist, K. E. Skóra & M. Appelberg, 2007. Indications of competition between non-indigenous round goby and native flounder in the Baltic Sea. ICES Journal of Marine Science 64: 479–486.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Kováč, V., G. H. Copp & R. P. Sousa, 2009. Life-history traits of invasive bighead goby Neogobius kessleri from the middle Danube with a reflection of who may win the goby competition. Journal of Applied Ichthyology 25: 33–37.Google Scholar
  20. Lauer, T. E., P. J. Allen & T. S. McComish, 2004. Changes in mottled sculpin and johnny darter trawl catches after the appearance of round gobies in the Indiana waters of Lake Michigan. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society 133: 185–189.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Lek, E., D. V. Fairclough, M. E. Platell, K. R. Clarke, J. R. Tweedley & I. C. Potter, 2011. To what extent are the dietary compositions of three abundant, co-occurring labrid species different and related to latitude, habitat, body size. Journal of Fish Biology 78(7): 1913–1943.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Levins, R., 1968. Evolution in Changing Environments: Some Theoretical Exploitations. Princeton University Press, Princeton.Google Scholar
  23. Lorenzoni, M., M. Corboli, A. J. M. Dörr, G. Giovinazzo, S. Selvi & M. Mearelli, 2002. Diets of Micropterus salmoides Lac. and Esox lucius L. in Lake Trasimeno (Umbria, Italy) and their diet overlap. Bulletin Française de Pêche et de la Piscicolture 365/366: 537–547.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Lorenzoni, M., L. Ghetti & M. Mearelli, 2006. Native and exotic fish species in the Tiber River watershed (Umbria—Italy) and their relationship to the longitudinal gradient. Bulletin Francais de la Peche et de la Pisciculture 382: 19–44.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Lorenzoni, M., G. La Porta, G. Pedicillo, M.P. Spigonardi, A. Carosi, P. Vitali, G. Baldini, L. Ghetti, A. Zeetti, M. Natali, A. Biscaro Parrini, R. Dolciami, A. Mezzetti, A. Burchia, M. Di Brizio, T. Pancioni & C. Uzzoli, 2007a. Carta Ittica della Regione Umbria: Bacino del Fiume Tevere. Regione dell’Umbria, Perugia: 305Google Scholar
  26. Lorenzoni, M., A. Carosi, G. Pedicillo & A. Trusso, 2007b. A comparative study on the feeding competition of the European perch Perca fluviatilis L. and the ruffe Gymnocephalus cernuus (L.) in Lake Piediluco (Umbria, Italy). Bulletin Francais de la Peche et de La Pisciculture 38: 35–57.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Lorenzoni, M., A. Carosi, L. Ghetti & R. Dolciami, 2010. La fauna ittica e i corsi d’acqua dell’Umbria. Sintesi delle carte Ittiche regionali dal 1986 al 2009. Regione Umbria, PerugiaGoogle Scholar
  28. Mearelli, M., M. Lorenzoni, A. Carosi, G. Giovinazzo & M. L. Petesse, 1996. Carta Ittica della Regione Umbria. Regione Umbria, Perugia.Google Scholar
  29. Mecatti, M., M. Gualtieri & K. Gattai, 2010. Transfaunazioni invasive nel distretto ittiofaunistico tosco-laziale: prove di competizione territoriale e alimentare tra Padogobius nigricans e Padogobius bonelli. Studi Trentini di Scienze Naturali 87: 133–136.Google Scholar
  30. Miller, P. J., 1975. Age-structure and life-span in the Common goby, Pomatoschistus microps. Journal of Zoology 177: 425–448.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Moyle, P. B. & T. Light, 1996. Biological invasions of fresh water: empirical rules and assembly theory. Biological Conservation 78: 149–161.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Nocita, A. & S. Zerunian, 2007. L’ittiofauna aliena nei fiumi e nei laghi d’Italia. Biologia Ambientale 21: 93–96.Google Scholar
  33. Pedersen, J., 1999. Diet comparison between pelagic and demersal whiting in the North Sea. Journal of Fish Biology 55: 1096–1113.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Rondinini, C., A. Battistoni, V. Peronace, C. Teofili, 2013. Lista Rossa IUCN dei Vertebrati Italiani. Comitato Italiano IUCN e Ministero dell’Ambiente e della Tutela del Territorio e del Mare, Roma.Google Scholar
  35. Russo, T., D. Pulcini, Á. O’Leary, S. Cataudella & S. Mariani, 2008. Relationship between body shape and trophic niche segregation in two closely related symparic fishes. Journal of Fish Biology 73: 809–828.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Scalici, M. & G. Gibertini, 2009. Freshwater goby life history in a Mediterranean stream. Hydrobiologia 628: 177–189.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Schiffman, S. S., M. L. Reynolds & F. W. Young, 1981. Introduction to Multidimensional Scaling. Academic Press, New York.Google Scholar
  38. Schoener, T. W., 1970. Non-synchronous spatial overlap of lizards in patchy environments. Ecology 51: 408–418.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Schoener, T. W., 1974. Some methods for calculating competition coefficients from resource-utilization spectra. American Naturalist 108: 332–340.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Sokołowska, E. & D. P. Fey, 2011. Age and growth of the round goby Neogobius melanostomus in the Gulf of Gdánsk several years after invasion. Is the Baltic Sea a new Promised Land? Journal of Fish Biology 78: 1993–2009.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Stevove, B. & V. Kovac, 2013. Do invasive bighead goby Neogobius kessleri and round goby N. melanostomus (Teleostei, Gobiidae) compete for food? Knowledge and Management of Aquatic Ecosystems 401, 08.  Google Scholar
  42. Svanback, R. & L. Persson, 2004. Individual diet specialization, niche width and population dynamics: implications for trophic polymorphisms. Journal of Animal Ecology 73: 973–982.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Toscano, B. J., D. Pulcini, B. Hayden, T. Russo, M. Kelly-Quinn & S. Mariani, 2011. An ecomorphological framework for the coexistence of two cyprinid fish and their hybrids in a novel environment. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 99: 768–783.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Wallace, R. K., 1981. An assessment of diet-overlap indexes. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society 110: 72–76.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Zaret, T. M. & A. S. Rand, 1971. Competition in tropical stream fishes: a support for the competitive exclusion principle. Ecology 52: 336–342.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Zerunian, S., 2002. Condannati all’estinzione? Biodiversità, biologia, minacce e strategie di conservazione dei Pesci d’acqua dolce indigeni in Italia. Edagricole, Bologna.Google Scholar
  47. Zerunian, S., 2004. Pesci delle acque interne d’Italia. Ministero dell’Ambiente e Istituto Nazionale Fauna Selvatica, Quaderni Conservazione Natura no. 20.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Laura Pompei
    • 1
    Email author
  • Daniela Giannetto
    • 1
  • Massimo Lorenzoni
    • 1
  1. 1.Dipartimento di Chimica, Biologia e BiotecnologiePerugiaItaly

Personalised recommendations