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Nuclear-follower foraging associations among Characiformes fishes and Potamotrygonidae rays in clean waters environments of Teles Pires and Xingu rivers basins, Midwest Brazil

Associações alimentares do tipo nuclear-seguidor entre peixes Characiformes e raias Potamotrygonidae em ambientes de águas límpidas das bacias dos rios Teles Pires e Xingu, Centro-Oeste do Brasil

During under and overwater observations were recorded nuclear-follower foraging associations among three species of characiform fishes - Chalceus epakros, Hemiodus semitaeniatus and Hemiodus unimaculatus - and a freshwater stingray species - Potamotrygon orbignyi - in the Teles Pires and Xingu rivers basins, Midwest Brazil. The teleost fishes were observed closely following the stingrays during the behavior of stirring the substrate to uncover invertebrates, which cause discrete sediment clouds. Apparently this sediment perturbation attracts the fishes that approached the foraging stingrays to feed on small preys and other food types exposed this way. This is a typical example of a commensal relationship in which one participant is benefited while the other is unaffected, and represents the second published record of nuclear-follower feeding association between potamotrygonid rays and teleost fishes, demonstrating the potential of naturalistic studies in discovering new interactions involving species of freshwater fish.

following behavior; foraging habits; interespecific interactions; Characidae; Hemiodontidae; Amazon Basin

Instituto Virtual da Biodiversidade | BIOTA - FAPESP Departamento de Biologia Vegetal - Instituto de Biologia, UNICAMP CP 6109, 13083-970 - Campinas/SP, Tel.: (+55 19) 3521-6166, Fax: (+55 19) 3521-6168 - Campinas - SP - Brazil