Prey vulnerability to peacock cichlids and largemouth bass based on predator gape and prey body depth

Proceedings of the Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies
By: , and 

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Abstract

The interaction of prey fish body depth and predator gape size may produce prey assemblages dominated by invulnerable prey and excessive prey-to-predator biomass ratios. Peacock cichlids (Cichla ocellaris) were stocked into southeast Florida canals to consume excess prey fish biomass, particularly spotted tilapia (Tilapia mariae). The ecomorphologically similar largemouth bass (Micropterus salmoides) was already present in the canals. We present relations of length-specific gape size for peacock cichlids and largemouth bass. Both predators have broadly overlapping gape size, but largemouth bass ?126 mm total length have slightly larger gape sizes than peacock cichlids of the same length. Also, we experimentally tested the predictions of maximum prey size for peacock cichlids and determined that a simple method of measuring gape size used for largemouth bass also is appropriate for peacock cichlids. Lastly, we determined relations of body depth and length of prey species to investigate relative vulnerability. Using a simple predator-prey model and length frequencies of predators and bluegill (Lepomis macrochirus), redear sunfish (Lepomis microlophus), and spotted tilapia prey, we documented that much of the prey biomass in southeast Florida canals is unavailable for largemouth bass and peacock cichlid predation.

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Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Prey vulnerability to peacock cichlids and largemouth bass based on predator gape and prey body depth
Series title Proceedings of the Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies
Volume 58
Year Published 2005
Language English
Publisher Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies
Contributing office(s) Southeast Ecological Science Center
Description 10 p.
First page 47
Last page 56
Country United States
State Florida
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N
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