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Vilagarcía de Arousa, Spain

Sanchez-Hernandez J.,University of Santiago de Compostela | Vieira-Lanero R.,Estacion de Hidrobiologia Encoro do Con | Servia M.J.,University of La Coruna | Cobo F.,University of Santiago de Compostela
Hydrobiologia | Year: 2011

Diet composition of newly emerged brown trout fry in natural areas remains poorly known, and foraging abilities at this early stage, although presumably reduced, are still under discussion. We have studied gut content composition of brown trout fry in a temperate area (Galicia, NW Spain) and compared it to the benthic macroinvertebrate community. Small prey such as chironomid larvae and baetid nymphs were the most important food items for newborns, some of them still presenting yolk remnants. However, the positive selection observed for Polycentropodidae and Simuliidae and the rejection of Elmidae and Leuctricidae suggest that other factors apart from size, such as locomotor abilities of fish or accessibility and antipredator behaviour of prey play an important role in feeding behaviour. Additionally, analysis of diet changes on the studied fry suggests a dramatic shift in niche breadth at the moment of complete yolk absorption, which might be related to the improvement of swimming and handling ability of fry for capturing and ingesting prey. The presence of aerial imagoes only in the stomachs of fry with no yolk provides further support to this hypothesis. Planning of restoration works on spawning grounds should then allow enough time for complete recolonization by benthic macroinvertebrates, including first instars, as searching for food in newborns is limited to the nest area due to mobility constraints. © Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010. Source

Sanchez-Hernandez J.,University of Santiago de Compostela | Vieira-Lanero R.,Estacion de Hidrobiologia Encoro do Con | Servia M.J.,University of La Coruna | Cobo F.,University of Santiago de Compostela
Hydrobiologia | Year: 2011

Trophic interactions are important factors structuring animal communities. We assessed the trophic relations of four fish species that live in sympatry in the River Ladra (NW Spain), and cluster analysis differentiated two feeding strategies: (1) species with omnivorous feeding habits, feeding mainly on detritus and plant material but with aquatic macroinvertebrates as an important complement (Achondrostoma arcasii and Pseudochondrostoma duriense) and (2) species feeding mainly (Salmo trutta) or exclusively (Gasterosteus gymnurus) on aquatic macroinvertebrates. Concerning ingested macroinvertebrates, the trophic overlap was quantified using Schoener's index and the results obtained revealed a high diet overlap among the species (from 81.3 up to 99.2%). In order to get a deeper insight into mechanisms of fish species coexistence, we used ten biological and ecological traits of macroinvertebrate prey to discriminate feeding preferences. As a result, despite the high similarity among the diets, our analyses suggest that differences in diel activity patterns and drift behaviour of preys, as well as differences in the prey size, are important adaptive features that may reduce the inter-specific competition in the fish community and permit the partitioning of food that allows coexistence. © 2011 Springer Science+Business Media B.V. Source

Sanchez-Hernandez J.,University of Santiago de Compostela | Servia M.J.,University of La Coruna | Vieira-Lanero R.,Estacion de Hidrobiologia Encoro do Con | Cobo F.,University of Santiago de Compostela
Limnetica | Year: 2010

The efficacy of the method of extracting stomach content, by means of the procedure of stomach washing through a pump, based on Seaburg's original model (1957), has been studied. The effectiveness of the method is not related to the size of the fish, but rather to the prey's own morphological characteristics, the degree of repletion of the stomach and the extent of digestion of the food. Thus, the effectiveness of the method is inversely related to the degree of repletion. Furthermore, bigger prey having rigid structures, such as Aeshnidae and Caddisflies with cases are more difficult to expel. However, the observed differences in the effectiveness of expulsion between preys with similar characteristics are due to the extent of their digestion. Nevertheless, the average effectiveness of the method is high and in excess of 80 %. It is therefore a relatively simple and effective methodology and the reason why its use is appropriate for obtaining stomach content samples in young and adult brown trout. Source

We have used fourteen ecological traits of the macroinvertebrates present in the stomachs of the stickleback to try to obtain information on it's feeding behaviour in the upper part of the Miño basin (NW Spain). To this end, a principal components analysis was carried out, using the level of affinity of the taxa for the different categories of the traits through a fuzzy codification process. The results show that the stickleback is a bottom-feeder that feeds basically on benthic prey, but can also consume terrestrial prey on the surface, the Chironomid larvae being the most abundant prey (constituted 59.66% of the total). This species exhibited a generalist behaviour concerning some of the ecological traits of the prey (ex. 'substratum', 'aggregation tendency', 'trajectory on the substratum and in the drift', 'agility' or 'body flexibility'). In other cases it showed a clear preference for prey with certain characteristics, such as taxa typical of areas where the velocity of the current is null or low (trait 'current velocity') or taxa available in the drift during daylight (trait 'daily drift behavior'). The results obtained show that this type of analysis could be used on other bottom-feeder species, thus providing a more ecological approach to feeding studies. © Asociacion Iberica de Limnologia, Madrid. Spain. Source

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