The piscivore feeding guild of fishes in small freshwater ecosystems

  • Keast A
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Abstract

Analysis of the piscivore guild in fish species-rich lake and stream systems in eastern Ontario showed the co-occurrence of three types: (1) specialists that became piscivorous at the age of a few weeks (Esox, Micropterus ); (2) "secondary" piscivores that are fish-eaters only later in life (Perca, Ambloplites ); and (3) species in which fish consumption is limited to taking some larvae (Lepomis macrochirus ). In the first group the basic series of dietary shifts that characterize many long-lived fish (i.e. zooplankton followed by small invertebrates then large invertebrates and finally fish); is greatly accelerated. Prey size increases with growth. Overall prey selection was on the basis of body size and abundance. Most piscivores took a range of fish prey. There was little evidence of specialization at the species level. Esox and Micropterus spawn some weeks ahead of their major prey species. This is seen as adaptive

Author-supplied keywords

  • Centrarchids
  • Community
  • Esocids
  • Food
  • Lake ecosystem
  • Piscivorous fishes
  • Prey
  • Reproduction

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Authors

  • Allen Keast

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