Iheringia. Série Zoologia
Print version ISSN 0073-4721
CORREA, Michéle de O. D. A. and UIEDA, Virgínia S.. Diet of the ichthyofauna associated with marginal vegetation of a mangrove forest in southeastern Brazil. Iheringia, Sér. Zool. [online]. 2007, vol.97, n.4, pp. 486-497. ISSN 0073-4721. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0073-47212007000400020.
The objective of this study was to analyze the diet of fish species that use the mangrove vegetation for shelter and feeding in a river southeastern Brazil. The fieldwork, including collecting and underwater observations, was carried out in the dry (July and August 2004) and in the rainy season (February and March 2005) in order to assess the existence of seasonal variation in the diets. Seven kinds of food items were consumed, two of plant origin and five of animal origin. Crustaceans predominated in the diet of most species, either in the form of unidentified fragments or discriminated in eight groups. The predominance of species using mainly a single food source (crustaceans, principally Ostracoda and Tanaidacea) and the existence of seasonal variation in the diets of some species became very evident in the analysis food niche breadth, with a predominance of dietary specialists. In the Rio da Fazenda mangrove, the submersed marginal vegetation was used by the ichthyofauna as a locale for foraging, and principally as cover by bottom-feeding species. These species may be using the vegetation for protection from aerial and aquatic predators, or even from the pull of the current during the turn of the tide. In the study area, the great diversity of crustaceans constitutes an important food source for most fish species which adjusted their diet according to seasonal changes in food availability and to interactions with other species.
Keywords : Feeding habit; seasonal variation; ontogenetic variation; niche breadth.