Periódicos Brasileiros em Medicina Veterinária e Zootecnia

Species of the Hoplias aff malabaricus complex (Characiformes: Erythrinidae): An investigation of coexistence in a Neotropical floodplain

Hauser, MaríliaBenedito, Evanilde

This study assessed the coexistence of three species of thraira present in the Upper Paraná River floodplain, using population structure as an investigation tool. The species were designated as: Hoplias sp. 1, introduced after the construction of the Itaipu reservoir, and Hoplias sp. 2 and Hoplias sp. 3, native species that have been identified as Hoplias aff. malabaricus. We tested the hypothesis that those species in fact differ from each other in respect of population abundance, sex ratio, relative frequency of adults and juveniles, length structure and weight-length relationship. Additionally, possible effects of the flood pulse on the first four of these parameters were investigated. Samples were collected quarterly from March 2006 to December 2007 from nine collection sites on the floodplain. Hoplias sp. 1 presented a greater balance of sex ratio and length structures over the seasons, as well as a higher allometric coefficient. The population attributes of Hoplias sp. 2 and Hoplias sp. 3 showed a high responsiveness to hydrological seasonality, indicating that these species exploit available resources in a conspicuous flood period with greater efficiency. These differences, beyond reflecting possible mechanisms that allow closely related species to coexist, indicate the importance of understanding the life strategies adopted by each species which, as part of a complex system, are considered key elements of the aquatic community structure in the region, providing important information for habitat management and biodiversity conservation.

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