Environmental Biology of Fishes

, Volume 49, Issue 1, pp 111–118 | Cite as

Ontogenic diet shifts and scale-eating in Roeboides dayi, a Neotropical characid

  • Christopher C. Peterson
  • Kirk O. Winemiller
Article

Abstract

Scale feeding (lepidophagy) has been documented for a variety of Neotropical fish taxa, including the characid genus Roeboides. Ontogenetic differentiation of jaws and snout teeth allow larger Roeboides to remove scales, however, the less specialized tooth/jaw structure in Roeboides dayi, indicates that it may be a facultative scale feeder. Population dynamics and diets of R. dayi in a Venezuelan lowland swamp/creek and a piedmont stream were compared over an annual cycle. Juvenile R. dayi consumed aquatic insect larvae and microcrustacea, and although spawning was year-round at both sites, most reproduction occurred during the wet season when the availability of these resources was greatest for juveniles. At both sites, larger R. dayi fed on a combination of invertebrate prey and fish scales, the former being more important at the piedmont site, and the latter being especially important during initial low water conditions at both sites. In the lowland stream, the reduction of aquatic habitat during the early dry season created higher fish densities and a more profitable environment for scale-feeders. Insectivory probably was less profitable during this early low water period due to interspecific competition for reduced aquatic insect stocks.

Characidae lepidophagy predation seasonality South America Venezuela 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References cited

  1. Breder, C.M. Jr. 1927. The fishes of the Rio Chucunaque drainage, eastern Panama. Bull. Amer. Mus. Nat. Hist. 57: 91–176.Google Scholar
  2. Curio, E. 1976. The ethology of predation. Springer-Verlag, Berlin. 249 pp.Google Scholar
  3. Goulding, M. 1980. The fishes and the forest: explorations in Amazonian natural history. University of California Press, Berkeley. 280 pp.Google Scholar
  4. Goulding, M., M.L. Carvalho & E.G. Ferreira. 1988. Rio Negro, rich life in poor water. SPB Academic Publishing, Amsterdam. 200 pp.Google Scholar
  5. Keast, A. 1985a. The piscivore feeding guild of fishes in a small freshwater ecosystem. Env. Biol. Fish. 12: 119–129.Google Scholar
  6. Keast, A. 1985b. Development of dietary specializations in a summer community of juvenile fishes. Env. Biol. Fish. 13: 211–224.Google Scholar
  7. Major, P.F. 1973. Scale-feeding behavior of the leatherjacket, Scomberoides lysan and two species of the genus Oligoplites (Pisces: Carangidae). Copeia 1973: 151–154.Google Scholar
  8. Nico, L.G. & M. De Morales. 1994. Nutrient content of piranha (Characidae, Serrasalminae) prey items. Copeia 1994: 524–528.Google Scholar
  9. Nico, L.G. & D.C. Taphorn. 1988. Food habits of piranhas in the low llanos of Venezuela. Biotropica 20: 311–321.Google Scholar
  10. Roberts, T.R. 1970. Scale-eating American characoid fishes, with special reference to Probolodus heterostomus. Proc. Calif. Acad. Sci. 38: 383–390.Google Scholar
  11. Sazima, I. 1977. Possible case of aggressive mimicry in a neotropical scale-eating fish. Nature 270: 510–512.Google Scholar
  12. Sazima, I. 1980. Estudio comparativo de algumas especiés de piexes lepidófagos (Osteichthyes) (A comparative study of some scale-eating fishes). Ph.D. Thesis, Universidade de Sao Paulo, Sao Paulo. 264 pp.Google Scholar
  13. Sazima, I. 1983. Scale-eating in characoids and other fishes. Env. Biol. Fish. 9: 87–101.Google Scholar
  14. Sazima, I. & F.A. Machado. 1982. Hábitos e comportamento de Roeboides prognathus, um peixe lepidófago (Osteichthyes, Characoidei) (Behavior and feeding of Roeboides prognathus (Ostechthyes, Characoidei), a lepidophagus fish). Bolm. Zool., Univ. S. Paulo 7: 37–56.Google Scholar
  15. Sazima, I. & F.A. Machado. 1990. Underwater observations of piranhas in western Brazil. Env. Biol. Fish. 28: 17–31.Google Scholar
  16. Sazima, I. & V.S. Uieda. 1980. Comportamento Lepidofágico de Oligoplites saurus e registro de lepidofágia em O. palometa e O. saliens (Pisces, Carangidae) (Scale-eating behavior in Oligoplites saurus and records of scale-eating in O. palometa and O. saliens). Rev. Bras. Biol. 40: 701–710.Google Scholar
  17. Smith-Vaniz, W.F. & J.C. Staiger. 1973. Comparative revision of Scomberoides, Oligoplites, Parona, and Hypacanthus with comments on the phylogenetic position of Campogramma (Pisces: Carangidae). Proc. Calif. Acad. Sci. 39: 185–256.Google Scholar
  18. Van Oosten, J. 1957. The skin and scales. pp. 207–224. In: M.E. Brown (ed.) The Physiology of Fishes, Academic Press, New York.Google Scholar
  19. Vari, R.P. 1986. Serrabrycon magoi, a new genus and species of scale-eating characid (Pisces: Characiformes) from the upper Rio Negro. Proc. Biol. Soc. Wash. 99: 328–334.Google Scholar
  20. Vleira, I. & J. Géry. 1979. Crescimento diferencial e nutricáo em Catoprion mento (Characoidei). Peixe lepidofágo da Amazônia (Differential growth and nutrition in Catoprion mento (Characoidei). Scale-eating fish of Amazonia). Acta Amazonica 9: 143–146.Google Scholar
  21. Werner, E.E. & J.F. Gilliam. 1984. The ontogenetic niche and species interactions in size-structured populations. Ann. Rev. Ecol. Syst. 15: 393–425.Google Scholar
  22. Whitear, M. 1986. Epidermis and dermis. pp. 8–64. In: J. Bereiter-Hahn, A.G. Matoltsky & K.S. Richards (ed.) Biology of the Integument 2: Vertebrates, Springer-Verlag, Berlin.Google Scholar
  23. Winemiller, K.O. 1989a. Ontogenetic diet shifts and resource partitioning among piscivorous fishes in the Venezuelan llanos. Env. Biol. Fish. 26: 177–199.Google Scholar
  24. Winemiller, K.O. 1989b. Patterns of variation in life history among South American fishes in seasonal environments. Oecologia 81: 225–241.Google Scholar
  25. Winemiller, K.O. 1990. Spatial and temporal variation in tropical fish trophic networks. Ecol. Monogr. 60: 331–367.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christopher C. Peterson
    • 1
  • Kirk O. Winemiller
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Wildlife and Fisheries SciencesTexas A&M UniversityCollege StationU.S.A

Personalised recommendations