Marine and Freshwater Research Marine and Freshwater Research Society
Advances in the aquatic sciences
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Insects in the diet of fish from Amazonian streams, in western Pará, Brazil

A. C. Cardoso A and S. R. M. Couceiro A B
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A Universidade Federal do Oeste do Pará, Instituto de Ciências e Tecnologia das Águas, Laboratório de Ecologia e Taxonomia de Invertebrados Aquáticos, Avenida Mendonça Furtado, 2946 sala 223, Fátima, Santarém-PA, CEP 68040-470, Brazil.

B Corresponding author. Email: sheylacouceiro@yahoo.com.br

Marine and Freshwater Research 68(11) 2052-2060 https://doi.org/10.1071/MF16173
Submitted: 11 May 2016  Accepted: 24 January 2017   Published: 13 April 2017

Abstract

In the present study we evaluated the contribution of insects, in particular aquatic forms, to the diet of Amazonian stream fish in western Pará, Brazil. The fish and insect fauna of 10 streams were sampled in the Tapajós National Forest. The fish consumed a diversity of nutrients of terrestrial and aquatic origin (algae, sediments, terrestrial and aquatic insects, fish), confirming that most are generalists. In the case of the species that fed exclusively on aquatic insects, a comparison of the diets with the availability of prey indicates that the fish do not forage selectively. Only 5 of the 21 species analysed fed exclusively on aquatic insects, and only 3 of these were taxon selective. Fifteen species consumed terrestrial insects, but did not feed exclusively on these organisms. This flexible feeding behaviour guarantees survival when preferred resources are scarce or absent. The results of the present study reinforce the importance of riparian forest in the feeding ecology of stream fish, because this habitat provides terrestrial insects and influences the occurrence of aquatic insects. The diversity of the Amazon region is reflected in that of local communities, and the present study provides important new data on the diet of the stream fish communities of western Pará.

Additional keywords: aquatic and terrestrial resource, aquatic invertebrates, food chain, lotic systems.


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