Floating litter banks are an ephemeral habitat consisting of branches, twigs, flowers, seeds, and fruits that are trapped on the stream water surface by a variety of retention mechanisms. These heterogeneous materials form a deep layer of dead plant matter that is colonized by a variety of organisms, including fish that forage on the aquatic macroinvertebrates found in this unique habitat. In this study, we aimed to characterize which fish species occupy the floating litter banks and their trophic characteristics, as well as determine if fish assemblage composition and species richness can be predicted by the size of the floating litter banks. Fish sampling was conducted in five rivers located in the Amazon basin. Of the 31 floating litter banks sampled that contained fish, 455 individuals were recorded and were distributed within 40 species, 15 families and five orders. Siluriformes were the most representative order among the samples and contained the largest number of families and species. The fish fauna sampled was mainly composed of carnivorous species that are typically found in submerged litter banks of Amazonian streams. The fish assemblage composition in the kinon can be predicted by the volume of the floating litter banks using both presence/absence and abundance data, but not its species richness. In conclusion, kinon banks harbor a rich fish assemblage that utilizes this habitat for shelter and feeding, and may function as a refuge for the fishes during the peak of the flooding season.
Ephemeral habitats; Fish assemblages; Insectivores; Lotic systems; Trophic structure