Diurnal feeding behavior of the American Eel Anguilla rostrata

Food Webs
By: , and 



Despite potential to structure ecosystem food webs through top-down effects, the trophic interactions of the American Eel Anguilla rostrata remain largely understudied. All previous research on the trophic ecology of American Eel in inland aquatic ecosystems has been conducted in temperate continental regions of the species' range. These studies have led to a paradigm that American Eel is a nocturnally active benthic predator, which most commonly consumes benthic invertebrates. Tropical island streams and rivers have habitats and communities that are distinct from temperate counterparts, but comprise a large portion of the adult habitat in the American Eel's range. We documented a previously undescribed diurnal feeding behavior by American Eel in a Caribbean river and demonstrate that this behavior, and a shift toward more frequent daytime feeding, is linked to periodic mass migrations of postlarvae of amphidromous fish taxa, including the Sicydiine goby Sicydiumspp. Our findings indicate that periodic mass migrations of amphidromous postlarvae could function as a potentially important food source for American Eel in tropical regions of its distribution, despite the intermittence of availability. Furthermore, this suggests that the American Eel plays an important role in the structure of tropical lotic food webs through top-down effects that are potentially augmented by instream barriers.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Diurnal feeding behavior of the American Eel Anguilla rostrata
Series title Food Webs
DOI 10.1016/j.fooweb.2017.10.003
Volume 13
Year Published 2017
Language English
Publisher Elsevier
Contributing office(s) Coop Res Unit Atlanta
Description 3 p.
First page 27
Last page 29
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