Asymmetry in the competition abilities between invasive and native consumers can potentially influence the colonization success by invasive species. We tested whether a subsidy of allochthonous prey enhanced an asymmetric competition between invasive bluegill (Lepomis macrochirus) and two native cyprinid fish, that is, stone moroko (Pseudorasbora parva) and tamoroko (Gnathopogon elongatus elongatus). A field experiment was conducted using enclosures wherein the strength of interspecific competition and the presence/absence of allochthonous prey were manipulated. The experiment revealed that allochthonous prey alleviated the limitation of fish growths caused by a severe competition for aquatic prey resources. However, the importance of allochthonous prey differed considerably between invasive bluegill and the two native cyprinids. Individual bluegills grew faster when the allochthonous prey was supplied, whereas no difference in growth was observed in the two cyprinids whether or not allochthonous prey was supplied. Interestingly, the importance of allochthonous prey on the total amount of bluegill growth varied depending on the numerical abundance of native cyprinid competitors, and this importance increased when the native cyprinids were abundant. These findings indicated that allochthonous prey provides an asymmetric growth benefit to invasive bluegills over the two native cyprinids by alleviating asymmetrically the competition strength in a Japanese pond, especially under the conditions of severe interspecific resource competition and a limitation in the utilization of in situ prey resources.
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We express our thanks to I. Kojima, A. Matsumoto, T. Miyano, and T. Koitabashi for their assistance in the construction of the enclosures. Our fieldwork was supported by the efforts of R. Hirasawa, Y. Fukada, T. Takahara, T. Yokokawa, Y. Yamada, T. Hayashi, and M. Yuma. Financial support was provided by the Nippon Life Insurance Foundation.
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Yonekura, R., Yamanaka, H., Ushimaru, A. et al. Allochthonous prey subsidies provide an asymmetric growth benefit to invasive bluegills over native cyprinids under the competitive conditions in a pond. Biol Invasions 11, 1347–1355 (2009). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10530-008-9342-y
- Asymmetric competition
- Exotic species
- Field experiment