Retroculus lapidifer is a cichlid fish foraging at the bottom of Araguaia and Tocantins Rivers rapid stretches. Although being relatively abundant, little is known about its biology and ecology. This study was aimed to describe the diet of R. lapidifer and to analyze the degree of similarity (Index of Morisita) among the diets of specimens from Araguaia and Tocantins Rivers, and between specimens of R. lapidifer and R. xinguensis. Specimens of R. lapidifer were collected in the Araguaia River in four occasions from February to November 2000. INPA Fish Collection specimens were used for the diet similarity studies. One hundred stomachs of R. lapidifer (90 from Araguaia River and 10 from Tocantins River) and 11 stomachs of R. xinguensis from Xingu River were analyzed. Occurrence frequency and relative volume methods were used together as an Alimentary Index. The diet of R. lapidifer was predominantly comprised of chironomid, trichopteran and ephemeropteran immature forms. Feeding on main preys varied along the hydrologic cycle, with a decrease on the consumption of chironomids during the receding and low water level periods, balanced by an increase on the consumption of trichopterans and ephemeropterans. The similarity between the diets of Araguaia and Tocantins Rivers R. lapidifer was 0.81, and between R. lapidifer and R. xinguensis was 0.92, probably reflecting the dominance of chironomids in the diets. Retroculus lapidifer can be characterized as a predator of immature aquatics insects exploiting the variable abundance of prey types along the hydrologic cycle.
Retroculus; diet; Araguaia River; Amazonia; fish