versão impressa ISSN 1679-6225
BASTOS, Rodrigo F.; CONDINI, Mário V.; VARELA JUNIOR, Antonio S. e GARCIA, Alexandre M.. Diet and food consumption of the pearl cichlid Geophagus brasiliensis (Teleostei: Cichlidae): relationships with gender and sexual maturity. Neotrop. ichthyol. [online]. 2011, vol.9, n.4, pp. 825-830. Epub 01-Dez-2011. ISSN 1679-6225. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1679-62252011005000049.
Despite the importance of the pearl cichlid Geophagus brasiliensis for the aquarium fish trade worldwide and its wide distribution, many aspects of its biology, such as the relationships between its feeding ecology and reproductive behavior, are not fully understood in natural conditions on its native habitat. In this paper, we investigated its diet focusing on how differences in diet and food consumption are related to differences in gender and sexual maturity. The digestive tract of each individual was dissected and had its content analyzed, whereas each gonad was microscopically analyzed to determine gender (male/female) and sexual maturity (immature/mature). A total of 28 females and 31 males were analyzed. Mature individuals were more common than immature specimens both for males (64.50%) and females (64.30%). The analysis of 52 individuals with non-empty digestive tracts revealed a diet comprised of 27 items. According to the Index of Alimentary importance (%IAi), the most important food items in the diet were Gastropoda (37.30%), fragments of vascular plants (15.16%), detritus (10.14%), Amphipoda (9.24%), and fish scales (6.29%). Mature males had more empty stomachs (65.00%) when compared to immature males (27.27%) and immature (55.56%) and mature females (40.00%). Also, mature females seemed to have more food consumption (greater mean values of total volume) in their digestive tracts than mature males. Some hypotheses are proposed in order to distinguish if this gender-based difference in food consumption in mature individuals of the pearl cichlid could be associated with the development of primary and secondary sexual characteristics or with asymmetrical time invested in parental care activities.
Palavras-chave : Feeding ecology; Parental care; Patos-Mirim lagoon complex; Reproduction.