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Neotropical Ichthyology

versão impressa ISSN 1679-6225versão On-line ISSN 1982-0224


SAZIMA, Ivan; CARVALHO, Lucélia Nobre; MENDONCA, Fernando Pereira  e  ZUANON, Jansen. Fallen leaves on the water-bed: diurnal camouflage of three night active fish species in an Amazonian streamlet. Neotrop. ichthyol. [online]. 2006, vol.4, n.1, pp.119-122. ISSN 1982-0224.

Resemblance to dead leaves is a well known type of camouflage recorded for several small vertebrates that dwell in the leaf and root litter on the ground. We present here instances of such resemblance in three species of nocturnal fishes (Siluriformes and Gymnotiformes) that spend the daytime among submersed root-tangle with leaf litter in Amazonian streams. All three species are very difficult to spot visually, due both to their shape and colors which blend with the substrate, as well as to the heterogeneous nature of their cover. Two species were recorded to lie on their sides, which adds to their resemblance to dead leaves. When disturbed, one species may drift like a waterlogged leaf, whereas another moves upwards the root-tangle, exposing its fore body above the water surface. We regard their leaf-like shapes, cryptic colors, and escape movements as a convergence in defensive responses to visually hunting aquatic vertebrates, most likely diurnal predaceous fishes.

Palavras-chave : Crypsis; leaf resemblance; defence against predators; Siluriformes; Gymnotiformes.

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