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

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

Arthur Cardoso , Sheyla Couceiro


We evaluated the contribution of insects, in particular aquatic species, to the diet of fish in Amazonian streams in western Pará, Brazil by sampling the fish and aquatic insect faunas of 10 streams in the Tapajós National Forest. We showed that the fish consume a wide variety of foods of both aquatic and terrestrial origin (algae, sediments, aquatic and terrestrial insects, fish), contradicting the assumption that most species in these streams are specialists or highly selective. Only five of the 21 fish species analyzed fed exclusively on aquatic insects, and only three of these were selective of a given taxon. A further 15 species consumed terrestrial insects, but did not feed exclusively on these organisms. This flexibility in feeding behavior guarantees survival when preferred resources are scarce or absent. The results of the study reinforce the importance of riparian forest in the feeding ecology of stream fish, given that 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 this is one of, if not the only study of the diet of the fish communities of the streams of western Pará.

MF16173  Accepted 24 January 2017

© CSIRO 2017