Marine Biodiversity

, Volume 42, Issue 4, pp 471–479 | Cite as

Diversity, abundance and seasonal variation of the ichthyofauna associated with shrimp farming in a tropical estuary in northeastern Brazil

  • Marcos F. Costa
  • Marcos R. Camara
Original Paper


The precarious nature of the existing data on marine fish diversity on a global scale is accentuated in tropical areas, where taxonomic inventories of fish species are particularly incomplete. In the present study, we investigated the diversity, abundance and seasonal variation of the ichthyofauna associated with shrimp (Litopenaeus vannamei Boone, 1931) farming in a tropical estuary in northeastern Brazil. The experimental data were obtained at an aquaculture farm located on margins of the Guaraíras lagoon (06°12′S, 35°09′W) in the state of Rio Grande do Norte. We sampled four shrimp culture cycles carried out from April to November 2005 during the rainy and dry seasons. Fishes were harvested at the termination of each culture cycle. We collected 36,681 fishes, comprising 26 families and 54 species. Shrimp culture cycles conducted in the dry season presented a more diverse fish community, albeit less abundant, than culture cycles carried out in the wet period. The most abundant families were Engraulidae in the wet season and Scianidae in the dry period. Juveniles of the engraulid Lycengraulis grossidens (Agassiz, 1989), a marine migrant, represented 87.67 % of total abundance in the wet season and 35.26 % of all individuals in the dry period. In conclusion, this study provides evidence of an abundant and diverse ichthyofauna associated with shrimp farming in northeastern Brazil. It also points to the necessity of finding alternatives to mitigate the entrainment of larval and juvenile fishes in shrimp ponds.


Fishes Diversity Ecology Shrimp farming Brazil 



We thank José Garcia Júnior for providing valuable laboratorial assistance in the identification of several fish species, Flavo Elano Soares de Souza for collaborating with the artwork, and Alexandre Alter Wainberg, owner and manager of the aquaculture farm on which this study was carried out for his cooperation. We also express our gratitude to the two expert reviewers who provided valuable comments on this article. This work was derived from a portion of a MSc dissertation by Marcos F. Costa.

Ethical standards

We hereby declare that the experiments of this manuscript comply with the current laws of Brazil, the country in which they were performed.

Conflict of interest

We hereby declare that we have no conflict of interest related directly or indirectly to the subject of this manuscript or any of the authors.


  1. Anh PT, Kroeze C, Bush SR, Mol APJ (2010) Water pollution by intensive brackish shrimp farming in south-east Vietnam: causes and options for control. Agric Water Manag 97:872–882CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bailey C (1988) The social consequences of tropical shrimp mariculture development. Ocean Shoreline Manag 11:31–44CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Barletta M, Barletta-Bergan A, Saint-Paul U, Hubold G (2003) Seasonal changes in density, biomass, and diversity of estuarine fishes in tidal mangrove creeks of the lower Caeté Estuary (northern Brazilian coast, east Amazon). Mar Ecol Prog Ser 256:217–228CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Barletta M, Barletta-Bergan A, Saint-Paul U, Hubold G (2005) The role of salinity in structuring the fish assemblages in a tropical estuary. J Fish Biol 66:45–72CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Barletta M, Jaureguizan AJ, Baigun C, Fontoura NF, Agostinho AA, Almeida-Vaz VMF, Val AL, Torres RA, Jimenes-Segura LF, Giarrizzo T, Fabré NN, Batista VS, Lasso C, Taphorn DC, Costa MF, Chaves PT, Vieira JP, Corrêa MFM (2010) Fish and aquatic habitat conservation in South America: a continental overview with emphasis on neotropical systems. J Fish Biol 76:2118–2176PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Barletta-Bergan A, Barletta M, Saint-Paul U (2002) Structure and seasonal dynamics of larval fish in the Caeté river estuary in north Brazil. Estuar Coast Shelf Sci 54:193–206CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Boyd CE (1989) Water quality management and aeration in shrimp farming. Fisheries and Allied Aquaculture Departmental Series, vol. 2. Alabama Agricultural Experiment Station, Auburn University, AlabamaGoogle Scholar
  8. Diana JS (2009) Aquaculture production and biodiversity conservation. BioScience 59(1):27–38CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Elliott M, Whitfield AK, Potter IC, Blaber SJM, Cyrus DP, Nordie FG, Harrison TD (2007) The guild approach to categorizing estuarine fish assemblages: a global review. Fish Fish 8:241–268CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. EMPARN (2004) Boletins de precipitação – estação Canguaretama. Séries 1911 a 2003. Empresa de Pesquisa Agropecuária do Rio Grande do Norte, NatalGoogle Scholar
  11. FAO (2010) The state of the world fisheries and aquaculture 2010. FAO, RomeGoogle Scholar
  12. Faunce CH, Serafy JE (2006) Mangroves as fish habitat: 50 years of field studies. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 318:1–18CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Figueiredo JL, Menezes NA (1978) Manual de peixes marinhos do Sudeste do Brasil. II Teleostei, 1. Museu de Zoologia. Universidade de São Paulo, São PauloGoogle Scholar
  14. Figueiredo JL, Menezes NA (1980) Manual de peixes marinhos do Sudeste do Brasil. III Teleostei, 2. Museu de Zoologia. Universidade de São Paulo, São PauloGoogle Scholar
  15. Figueiredo JL, Menezes NA (2000) Manual de peixes marinhos do Sudeste do Brasil. IV Teleostei, 5. Museu de Zoologia. Universidade de São Paulo, São PauloGoogle Scholar
  16. Funge-Smith SJ, Briggs MRP (1998) Nutrient budgets in intensive shrimp ponds: implications for sustainability. Aquaculture 164:117–133CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Giarrizzo T, Krumme U (2007) Spatial differences and seasonal cyclicity in the intertidal fish fauna from four mangrove creeks in a salinity zone of the Curuçá estuary, north Brazil. Bull Mar Sci 80:739–754Google Scholar
  18. Giarrizzo T, Krumme U (2008) Heterogeneity in intertidal fish fauna assemblages along the world’s longest mangrove area in northern Brazil. J Fish Biol 72:773–779CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Giarrizzo T, Schwamborn R, Saint-Paul U (2011) Utilization of carbon sources in a northern Brazilian mangrove ecosystem. Estuar Coast Shelf Sci 95:447–457CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Hammer Ø, Harper DAT, Ryan PD (2001) PAST: Paleontological Statistics Software Package for Education and Data Analysis. Palaeontol Electron 4(1):1–9Google Scholar
  21. Hendrickx ME, Salgado-Barragán J, Meda-Martínez MA (1996) Abundance and diversity of macrofauna (fish and decapod crustaceans) in Penaeus vannamei culture ponds in Western Mexico. Aquaculture 143:61–73CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Hopkins JS, Sandifer PA, DeVoe MR, Holland AF, Browdy CL, Stokes AD (1995) Environmental impacts of shrimp farming with special reference to the situation in the continental United States. Estuaries 18(1A):25–42CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. IDEMA (2004) Mapeamento geoambiental do sistema lagunar-estuarino Nísia Floresta-Papeba-Guaraíras em escala 1:10.000 - com base em imagens Ikonos II. Instituto de Desenvolvimento Econômico e do Meio Ambiente do Rio Grande do Norte, NatalGoogle Scholar
  24. Krumme U, Keuthen H, Barletta M, Villwock W, Saint-Paul U (2005) Contribution to the feeding ecology of the predatory wingfin anchovy Pterengraulis atherinoides (L.) in north Brazilian mangrove creeks. J Appl Ichthyol 21:469–477CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Krumme U, Keuthen H, Barletta M, Saint-Paul U, Villwock W (2008) Resuspended intertidal microphytobenthos as major diet component of planktivorous atlantic Anchoveta Cetengraulis edentulus (Engraulidae) from Equatorial mangrove creeks. Ecotropica 14:121–128Google Scholar
  26. Laegdsgaard P, Johnson C (2001) Why do juvenile fish utilise mangrove habitats? J Exp Mar Biol Ecol 257(2):229–253PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Lopes PRD (1998) Feeding of Lycengraulis grossidens (Osteichthyes, Clupeiformes, Engraulidae) in Jaguaribe beach (state of Pernambuco). Acta Biol Leopoldensia 20:243–249Google Scholar
  28. Lopes PRD, Resende GS (2000) Note on feeding of Lycengraulis grossidens (Agassiz, 1829) (Actinopterygii: Engraulidae) in the Ponta da Ilha beach (Itaparica Island, Bahia). Acta Biol Leopoldensia 22:129–132Google Scholar
  29. Ludwig JA, Reynolds JF (1988) Statistical ecology. A primer on methods and computing. Wiley, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  30. McLusky DS, Elliott M (2004) The estuarine ecosystem: ecology, threats and management. Oxford University Press, OxfordCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Menezes NA, Figueiredo JL (1980) Manual de peixes marinhos do Sudeste do Brasil. IV Teleostei, 3. Museu de Zoologia. Universidade de São Paulo, São PauloGoogle Scholar
  32. Menezes NA, Figueiredo JL (1985) Manual de peixes marinhos do Sudeste do Brasil. V Teleostei, 4. Museu de Zoologia. Universidade de São Paulo, São PauloGoogle Scholar
  33. Menezes NA, Buckup PA, Figueiredo JL, Moura RL (2003) Catálogo das espécies de peixes marinhos do Brasil. Museu de Zoologia. Universidade de São Paulo, São PauloGoogle Scholar
  34. Mora C, Tittensor DP, Meyers RA (2008) The completeness of taxonomic inventories for describing the global diversity and distribution of marine fishes. Proc R Soc Lond B 275:149–155CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Naylor RL, Goldburg RJ, Money H, Beveridge M, Clay J, Folke C, Kautsky N, Lubchenco J, Primavera J, Williams M (1998) Nature’s subsidies to shrimp and salmon farming. Science 282:883–884CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Naylor RL, Goldburg RJ, Primavera JH, Kautsky N, Beveridge MCM, Clay J, Folke C, Lubchenco J, Mooney H, Troell M (2000) Effect of aquaculture on world fish supplies. Nature 405:1017–1024PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Neira FJ, Potter IC (1994) The larval fish assemblage of the Nornalup-Walpole estuary, a permanently open estuary on the southern coast of western Australia. Aust J Mar Freshwat Res 45:1193–1207CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Páez-Osuna F (2001) The environmental impact of shrimp aquaculture: a global perspective. Environ Pollut 112:229–231PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Páez-Osuna F, Gracia A, Flores-Verdugo F, Lyle-Fritch LP, Alonso-Rodríguez R, Roque A, Ruiz-Fernández AC (2003) Shrimp aquaculture development and the environment in the Gulf of California ecoregion. Mar Pollut Bull 46:806–815PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Pielou EC (1984) The interpretation of ecological data. Wiley, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  41. Primavera JH (1991) Intensive prawn farming in the Philippines: ecological, social and economic implications. Ambio 20:28–33Google Scholar
  42. Primavera JH (1993) A critical review of shrimp pond culture in the Philippines. Rev Fish Sci 1(2):151–201CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Ramos JAA, Barletta M, Dantas DV, Lima ARA, Costa MF (2011) Influence of moon phase on fish assemblages in estuarine mangrove tidal creeks. J Fish Biol 78:344–354PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Samocha TM, Lopez IM, Jones ER, Jackson S, Lawrence AL (2004) Characterization of intake and effluent waters from intensive and semi-intensive shrimp farms in Texas. Aquacult Res 35:321–339CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Serrano-Grijalva L, Sánchez-Carrillo S, Angeler DG, Sáncrez-Andrés R, Alvarez-Cobelas M (2011) Effects of shrimp-farm effluents in subtropical coastal lagoons. J Exp Mar Biol Ecol 402:65–74CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Shannon CE, Weaver W (1949) The mathematical theory of communication. University of Illinois Press, UrbanaGoogle Scholar
  47. Sokal RR, Rohlf FJ (1981) Biometry. The principles and practice of statistics in biological research. Freeman, San FranciscoGoogle Scholar
  48. Tzeng W, Wang Y (1992) Structure, composition and seasonal dynamics of the larval and juvenile fish community in the mangrove estuary of Tanshui River, Taiwan. Mar Biol 113:481–490CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Vilar CC, Spach HL, Joyeux JC (2011) Spatial and temporal changes in the fish assemblage of a subtropical estuary in Brazil: environmental effects. J Mar Biol Assoc UK 91(3):635–648CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Wainberg AA, Ribeiro FAS, Ribeiro K, Camara MR (2011) Aquaculture in Rio Grande do Norte, NE-Brazil: past, present and future. World Aquacult 42(1):21–25Google Scholar
  51. Whitfield AK (1989) Ichthyoplankton interchange in the mouth region of a southern African estuary. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 54:25–33CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Whitfield AK (1999) Ichthyofaunal assemblages in estuaries: a South African case study. Rev Fish Biol Fish 9:151–186CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Senckenberg Gesellschaft für Naturforschung and Springer 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Programa de Pós-graduação em Ecologia, Departmento de Oceanografia e LimnologiaUniversidade Federal do Rio Grande do NorteNatalBrazil

Personalised recommendations