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Interactions between non-native armored suckermouth catfish (Loricariidae: Pterygoplichthys) and native Florida manatee (Trichechus manatus latirostris) in artesian springs

Aquatic Invasions

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Abstract

Non-native suckermouth armored catfishes (Loricariidae) of the genus Pterygoplichthys are now common throughout much of peninsular Florida. In this paper, we present preliminary observations on interactions between a Pterygoplichthys species, tentatively identified as P. disjunctivus (Weber, 1991), and endangered native Florida manatees, Trichechus manatus latirostris (Harlan, 1824), in artesian spring systems in Florida's St. Johns River drainage. The introduced catfish have become abundant in spring habitats, sites used by manatees as winter thermal refuges. In the spring runs, Pterygoplichthys regularly attaches to manatees and grazes the epibiota on their skin. On occasion, dozens of Pterygoplichthys congregate on individual manatees. Manatee responses varied widely; some did not react visibly to attached catfish whereas others appeared agitated and attempted to dislodge the fish. The costs and/or benefits of this interaction to manatees remain unclear.

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Article
Publication Subtype:
Journal Article
Title:
Interactions between non-native armored suckermouth catfish (Loricariidae: Pterygoplichthys) and native Florida manatee (Trichechus manatus latirostris) in artesian springs
Series title:
Aquatic Invasions
Volume
4
Issue:
3
Year Published:
2009
Language:
English
Publisher:
Regional Euro-Asian Biological Invasions Centre
Publisher location:
Helsinki, Finland
Contributing office(s):
Southeast Ecological Science Center
Description:
9 p.
Larger Work Type:
Article
Larger Work Subtype:
Journal Article
First page:
511
Last page:
519
Country:
United States
State:
Florida