Fish damage in hydroelectric stations has been extensively reported, but further investigations focusing on Brazilian migratory species, especially large fish, are needed. The present study describes swimbladder abnormalities in piapara Leporinus obtusidens, a migratory physoclistous species, collected downstream from the Funil Hydroelectric station dam, Minas Gerais, Brazil. The 117 specimens collected were dissected for swimbladder evaluation in the coelomic cavity. The abnormalities detected in 14 of the fish (12%) were swimbladder rupture with exteriorization (N = 12) and formation of sac-like projections (N = 2). The specimens that had swimbladder abnormalities weighed over 1300 g for both sexes. These abnormalities may be caused by bladder infections, however, inflammation process were not detected in these fish. The presence of anomalies in swimbladder suggests that the individuals were subjected to sudden depressurization, possibly related to passage through the turbines. Further comparative studies are needed to corroborate this hypothesis.
Fish mortality; Migratory fish; Pressure changes; Reservoir