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Comparison of fish assemblages in two littoral habitats in a Neotropical morichal stream in Venezuela

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Author(s): Carmen G. Montaña | Craig A. Layman | Donald C. Taphorn

Journal: Neotropical Ichthyology
ISSN 1679-6225

Volume: 6;
Issue: 4;
Start page: 577;
Date: 2008;
Original page

Keywords: Food availability | Habitat complexity | Predation | Prey | Refugia

ABSTRACT
Morichales are lowland streams in South American savannas with riparian forest dominated by the moriche palm (Mauritia flexuosa). We sampled littoral habitats from ten flooded vegetated patches (dominated by Mauritiella aculeate) and six sand banks in two months of the dry season (Feb-Mar 2005) in a stream in the savannas of Apure State, Venezuela. We collected samples that compromised 12,407 individual fishes of 107 species. Small-bodied fishes (< 100 mm), representing diverse trophic and life history strategies, were abundant. The most abundant species were in the families Characidae and Cichlidae. Fish assemblages from flooded vegetated patches differed significantly from those on adjacent sand banks. High structural complexity along vegetated shoreline habitats of morichal streams likely contributes to species richness and affects assemblage composition.Morichales ou buritizais são tipos de habitats de planícies de savana da América do Sul com vegetação ripária dominada por buritis (Mauritia flexuosa). Nós amostramos habitats litorâneos de dez fragmentos de buritis e seis bancos de areia durante dois meses de estação seca (Fev-Mar de 2005) em um curso de água de savana no Estado de Apure, Venezuela. Foram coletados 12.407 peixes pertencentes a 107 espécies. Espécies de pequeno porte (< 100 mm), representando diversas estratégias de vida e categorias tróficas foram abundantes. As espécies mais abundantes pertenceram às famílias Characidae e Cichlidae. As assembléias de peixes dos fragmentos de vegetação inundada (buritis) diferiram significantemente daquelas dos bancos de areia adjacentes. A elevada complexidade estrutural ao longo dos habitats marginais dos riachos que corriam pelos buritizais provavelmente contribuiu para a riqueza de espécies e influenciou a composição das assembléias nesses sistemas.
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