, Volume 818, Issue 1, pp 145–161 | Cite as

Influence of rainfall, hydrological fluctuations, and lunar phase on spawning migration timing of the Neotropical fish Prochilodus costatus

  • João de Magalhães Lopes
  • Carlos Bernardo Mascarenhas Alves
  • Alexandre Peressin
  • Paulo Santos Pompeu
Primary Research Paper


The arrival of the rains and the hydrological changes they cause are essential in the reproductive cycle of Neotropical migratory fishes, but their association with the onset of migration is still poorly understood. This study aimed to determine the role played by rainfall, hydrological changes, and the lunar cycle as triggers for migration of Prochilodus costatus (Prochilodontidae) in the upper São Francisco River, Brazil. In total, 132 individuals were fitted with radiotelemetry transmitters over three consecutive spawning seasons. Spawning migration began with the onset of the rains from late September to mid-December. Individuals exhibited a strong preference for initiating migration at the beginning of the rainy season, when river discharge is low, in days with positive changes in water level, and at times of new or waxing moon. The fraction of the population that initiates migration each year appears to be dependent on rainfall, indicating that P. costatus may be a partial migrant. The results show that P. costatus and, possibly, other migratory Neotropical fish, rely on different but interconnected environmental cues to trigger their spawning migration, ensuring that individuals migrate in time to reach their spawning grounds and find appropriate environmental conditions for spawning.


Discharge Migration triggers Partial migration Radiotelemetry Spawning period Water level 



The authors thank Companhia Energética de Minas Gerais/Agência Nacional de Energia Elétrica Research and Development program for financial support. Paulo Santos Pompeu was awarded a productivity research Grant by CNPq/Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico (CNPq No. 304002/2014-3) and a Minas Gerais State Researcher Grant by Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de Minas Gerais (FAPEMIG PPM-00608/15). Capture and tagging license was granted by the Ministry of Environment (MMA). The authors thank Francisco Ricardo Andrade Neto and Luiz Magnago for statistical support and also Fabiano O. Silva who kindly provided fish capture and tagging photos. The authors also thank the anonymous reviewers for their insightful comments that greatly helped to improve this manuscript.

Supplementary material

10750_2018_3601_MOESM1_ESM.tif (1.3 mb)
Figure 1. Fish capture and tagging. a) Fishermen using a cast net on the Pará River. b) Net pen deployed in the Pará River. c) Surgical tagging procedure. d) Tag insertion. Photos: Carlos B. M. Alves and Fabiano O. Silva. Supplementary material 1 (TIFF 1357 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • João de Magalhães Lopes
    • 1
  • Carlos Bernardo Mascarenhas Alves
    • 2
  • Alexandre Peressin
    • 3
  • Paulo Santos Pompeu
    • 1
  1. 1.Programa de Pós-Graduação em Ecologia Aplicada, Departamento de BiologiaUniversidade Federal de LavrasLavrasBrazil
  2. 2.Bio-Ambiental ConsultoriaBelo HorizonteBrazil
  3. 3.Cemig Geração e Transmissão S.A.Belo HorizonteBrazil

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