Periódicos Brasileiros em Medicina Veterinária e Zootecnia

p. 851-860

Distribution patterns and trophic characteristics of salmonids and native species inhabiting high altitude rivers of Pampa de Achala region, Argentina

Ferriz, Ricardo ABaigún, Claudio R. MDominino, Jael

The Pampa de Achala in central Argentina is an area with low fish species richness where salmonids were first introduced at the beginning of the twentieth century. A total of 19 rivers of different order were sampled during the low water period by using portable electrofishing equipment. We covered different identified macrohabitats (pools, riffles, glides and cascades) in reaches of 300-500 m length. The native species Trichomycterus corduvensis and two exotic salmonids such as Salvelinus fontinalis and Oncorhynchus mykiss represented the most common species, showing allopatric and sympatric distribution in some streams. Stomach contents and diet overlapping were also analyzed. Cluster results showed a first main group comprised those streams with high diet similitude between T. corduvensis and O. mykiss whereas a second main group consisted of streams with high diet similitude between O. mykiss and S. fontinalis. Mean niche width was similar among all these species but T. corduvensis showed that widest range whereas S. fontinalis exhibited the narrowest trophic niche. We were able to document a direct predation on T. corduvensis by O. mykiss in two stream although distribution overlapping among native and exotic species were low. In turn diet overlapping among species were negligible. Trophic niche amplitude of S. fontinalis was inversely related to stream order, providing clues that geomorphology and hydrology may exert also influence of trophic characteristics and can be used for predicting the potential for food competition with native species. Analysis by Tokeshi plot revealed that T. corduvensis ranged from specialist to generalist whereas both salmonids showed generalist feeding habits with a heterogeneous and homogeneous diet.(AU)

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