Environmental Biology of Fishes

, Volume 53, Issue 1, pp 105–110 | Cite as

Ontogenetic diet shifts in Roeboides affinis with morphological comparisons

  • Christopher C. Peterson
  • Peter McIntyre


Fishes of the characid genus Roeboides are documented as lepidophagous, but the degree of specialization on scales varies between species. This study examines ontogenetic changes in morphology and diet of Roeboides dayi and Roeboides affinis from Venezuela. Juveniles of both species feed on microcrustacea and insects during the wet season, when availability of these resources is greatest. As aquatic habitat decreases during the dry season, insect and microcrustacea availability decreases and fish densities increase. As the fish densities increase, scale consumption becomes more profitable. Interspecific differences in the degree of specialization of the teeth and jaws was associated with the degree of scale feeding. Adult R. dayi consumed scales in approximately equal proportions to insects. Adult R. affinis consumes approximately 100% scales, and has more specialized head morphology than R. dayi.

characidae lepidophagy seasonality South America Venezuela morphology 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christopher C. Peterson
    • 1
    • 2
  • Peter McIntyre
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Wildlife and Fisheries SciencesTexas A&M University, College StationU.S.A.
  2. 2.Museum of Comparative Zoology, Fish DepartmentHarvard CollegeCambridgeU.

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