Rhamdia quelen (Jundiá) is a catfish species of great interest to fish producers and researchers due to several favorable characteristics for inclusion in the Brazilian list of commercially raised fish. It has a wide geographical distribution, with occurrences reported from Central Argentina to South Mexico. Studies on the biological aspects of this species have been limited to captive adult fishes that were researched for farming purposes. Research related to ichthyoplankton has provided valuable information on spawning periods and sites and other aspects of breeding for numerous species of fish. This information is crucial for implementing management and protection strategies for these species. The studied floodplain is located in a lotic remnant between the Reservoirs of Itaipu and Engenheiro Sérgio Motta. This area is located inside a protected area (Ilha Grande National Park) in the last portion of dam-free land along the Paraná River in the Brazilian territory; however, it is still threatened by the negative effects of the dams. We conducted monthly nocturnal collections during four periods from October to March, 2003 to 2007, in 22 locations along the main channel, secondary lakes and main tributaries of the Paraná River. After collection, the individuals were classified according to the degree of development and the notochord flexion and caudal fin support elements. Data were analyzed using principal component analysis (PCA), ANOVA and Pearson correlation to relate abiotic and larval density data. The increase of capture abundances in the four studied stages suggests that R. quelen is finding conditions that are favorable to its reproduction. The increase in captures can generate questions regarding R. quelen reproductive activity, for instance, whether the species is adapting or is influenced by environmental changes created by the Paraná River dams.
Ichthyoplankton; Ilha Grande National Park; Jundiá; Spawning areas