Size-selective predation of the catfish Pimelodus pintado (Siluriformes: Pimelodidae) on the golden mussel Limnoperna fortunei (Bivalvia: Mytilidae)

Vieira Sobrinho, João Paes; Lopes, Michelle das Neves


This paper describes the size-selective predation on Limnoperna fortunei (Dunker, 1857) by Pimelodus pintado (Azpelicueta, Lundberg & Loureiro, 2008) from the time it arrived at the Mirim Lagoon basin (2005). Sampling was carried out using bottom trawl in depths of 3-6 m, from January to November 2005, and from October to November 2008. Pimelodus pintado began to prey upon L. fortunei soon after its arrival (austral spring of 2005). On the spring of 2008, L. fortunei was found to be the most important food item of P. pintado. The variation in length of the mussels (0.7- 3.2 cm, with a mode of 1.3 cm) indicates that the species is now fully established in the system. Our data indicates that large individuals of P. pintado incorporate more mussels in their diets than small individuals. However, regardless of their size, P. pintado individuals predate only on small (<1.4 cm) representatives of L. fortunei. This prey size corresponds to a phase when the mussel is more mobile and readily available for fish. Larger, more aggregated prey groups that are attached to hard substrates are avoided by fish predators.

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