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Trophic ecology of two non-native cyprinid fish, the common carp Cyprinus carpio and the bleak Alburnus alburnus

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Abstract

The introduction of non-native fish species poses a significant threat to biodiversity. In Spain, the common carp Cyprinus carpio (Linnaeus, 1758) and the bleak Alburnus alburnus (Linnaeus, 1758) are both established and sometimes co-occurring non-native species. Here, we investigated the trophic ecology of these species using an integrative approach, combining dietary and stable isotope analyses, to understand seasonal variations in their feeding ecology and potential niche overlap. We found a variable pattern for the gonadosomatic index of the two species in spring and autumn, suggesting the occurrence of extended reproductive periods for both A. alburnus and C. carpio. The gut content and isotopic niche analyses showed seasonal niche shifts, as well as interspecific niche partitioning and potential feeding competition. Notably, we found remains of small fish in the gut of both species and one entire individual of Gambusia holbrooki (Girard, 1859) in the carp gut, highlighting the potential of both species to prey also upon native fish fry or juveniles. Moreover, A. alburnus showed an ontogenetic shift toward prey from higher trophic levels and from the littoral/benthic environment, while C. carpio showed an increase in the proportion of prey from the pelagic environment with size.

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Acknowledgements

Funding from the project “Las poblaciones piscícolas de la laguna de Sariñena”, promoted and supervised by Dr. Paloma Barrachina, is Acknowledged. This project has been funded by the following entity and resources: Sect. 14: Agriculture, Animal Husbandry and Environment · Service 06: Directorate-General for Natural Environment and Forestry Management · Program: 533.2 Biodiversity Conservation. Project: 146 Conservation of Biodiversity (Wild Flora and Fauna). Concept: 227,006 · Financing funds: 32,436. Financed with funds from the Recovery, Transformation and Resilience Plan (PRTR). MRR: Component 4. Investment 3. "Ecosystem restoration and green infrastructure". Action 3 "Ecological recovery and restoration in wetlands and riparian forests—ARG C04.I03.P01.S002.4". PB and PJH dedicate this work to the memory of Nicola Fortini, an excellent Florentine naturalist and expert ichthyologist who passed away prematurely, recently.

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Balzani, P., Avramović, M., Delgado, A. et al. Trophic ecology of two non-native cyprinid fish, the common carp Cyprinus carpio and the bleak Alburnus alburnus. Hydrobiologia (2024). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10750-024-05578-3

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