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Boletín de Investigaciones Marinas y Costeras - INVEMAR

Print version ISSN 0122-9761

Abstract

PANTOJA ECHEVARRIA, Laura María et al. Diet overlap between lionfish Pterois volitans (Teleostei: Scorpaenidae) and native fishes at a similar trophic level in Cuba. Bol. Invest. Mar. Cost. [online]. 2017, vol.46, n.2, pp.115-134. ISSN 0122-9761.  http://dx.doi.org/10.25268/bimc.invemar.2017.46.2.732.

The spread of the Indo-Pacific lionfish has been one of the most rapid marine fish invasions in the history of the tropical and subtropical western Atlantic, and populations of this species pose a threat to native fishes feeding at similar trophic levels due to competition for food. To determine dietary overlap, 899 lionfish and 377 native fishes of the families Haemulidae, Holocentridae, Serranidae and Lutjanidae were caught in three Cuban localities, and their stomach contents were analyzed based on the number of items, frequency, volume and index of relative importance. Diet composition was similar in the studied localities; Lutjanidae, Serranidae and lionfish mainly fed on fish while Haemulidae and Holocentridae primarily consumed small benthic invertebrates. Mantel correlations showed that the consumption of fish and crustaceans did not increase as lionfish increased in size. The degree of dietary overlap between lionfish and some native fishes depends on locality, ecological zone and the characteristics of each family, confirming the opportunistic nature of the invader. It is likely that native fishes are not affected by competition with lionfish for food because they feed on the most abundant and available organisms; therefore, food availability is not a limiting factor for these groups.

Keywords : Diet composition; Trophic ecology; Invasive species.

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