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Trophic ecology and gill raker morphology of seven catostomid species in Iowa rivers

January 1, 2011

Understanding the trophic ecology of closely‐related species is important for providing insight on inter‐specific competition and resource partitioning. Although catostomids often dominate fish assemblages in lotic systems, little research has been conducted on their ecology. This study was developed to provide information on the trophic ecology of catostomids in several Iowa rivers. Food habits, diet overlap, and gill raker morphology were examined for highfin carpsucker Carpiodes velifer, quillback C. cyprinus, river carpsucker C. carpio, golden redhorse Moxostoma erythrurum, shorthead redhorse M. macrolepidotum, silver redhorse M. anisurum, and northern hogsucker Hypentelium nigricans sampled from four Iowa rivers (2009). Diet overlap among all species was calculated with Morista’s index (C). Food habit niche width was quantified with Levin’s index (B) and similarity in gill raker morphology was compared with analysis of covariance. Values from Morista’s index suggested significant overlap in the diets of highfin carpsucker and river carpsucker (C = 0.81), quillback and river carpsucker (C = 0.66), and shorthead redhorse and silver redhorse (C = 0.67). Levin’s index indicated that golden redhorse (B = 0.32), quillback (B = 0.53), and river carpsucker (B = 0.41) had the most generalized feeding strategies as their food niche widths were substantially wider than the other species. Gill raker length and spacing were positively correlated with the standard length of the fish for all species (gill raker length: r2 = 0.67–0.88, P ≤ 0.01; gill raker spacing: r2 = 0.63–0.73, P ≤ 0.01). Slopes of regression of gill raker length and spacing to standard lengths were significantly (P ≤ 0.05) different among species, indicating that rates of change in gill raker morphology with body length varied among species. Differences in gill raker morphology likely allow catostomids to partition resources and reduce competitive interactions.

Publication Year 2011
Title Trophic ecology and gill raker morphology of seven catostomid species in Iowa rivers
DOI 10.1111/j.1439-0426.2011.01779.x
Authors J.R. Spiegel, M.C. Quist, J.E. Morris
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Journal of Applied Ichthyology
Index ID 70034596
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse