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Habitat selection by three littoral zone fishes: effects of predation pressure, plant density and macrophyte type

Ecology of Freshwater Fish

By:
and
DOI: 10.1111/j.1600-0633.1997.tb00139.x

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Abstract

We conducted laboratory experiments which demonstrated that three littoral zone fishes differentially selected among three macrophytes when seeking refuge from predation. In the presence of a predator (a juvenile Micropterus salmoides), mosquitofish (Gambusia holbrooki), sailfin mollies (Poecilia latipinna). and dollar sunfish (Lepomis marginatus) displayed ferential use of four tank areas containing patches of either Hydrilla verticillataPotamogeton illinoensis, Panicum hemitomon, or no plants. Patterns habitat selection, and the consistency of these patterns among replicates, differed among the three fishes and among three plant-density treatments - natural (each macrophyte presented at its mean field density), equal (all three macrophytes at the same density), and control (no plants). Selection for H. verticillata by mosquitofish was significant for both the equal and natural treatments, and thus was not caused by differences in plant density alone. Sailfin mollies displayed significant selection for H. verticillata only in the natural plant-density treatments. Dollar sunfish showed less consistent habitat selection than either mosquitofish or sailfin mollies. Significant habitat selection was not found in the absence of a predator, and there was no evidence for lection among the tank areas in control treatments. Patterns of habitat selection by the three fishes in our laboratory study corresponded to observed habitat use in Lake Okeechobee.

Additional publication details

Publication type:
Article
Publication Subtype:
Journal Article
Title:
Habitat selection by three littoral zone fishes: effects of predation pressure, plant density and macrophyte type
Series title:
Ecology of Freshwater Fish
DOI:
10.1111/j.1600-0633.1997.tb00139.x
Volume:
6
Issue:
1
Year Published:
1997
Language:
English
Publisher:
Elsevier
Contributing office(s):
Southeast Ecological Science Center
Description:
9 p.
First page:
27
Last page:
35
Online Only (Y/N):
N
Additional Online Files (Y/N):
N