Microhabitat use and diet of 0+ cyprinid fishes in a lentic, regulated reach of the River Great Ouse, England

Authors

  • P. Garner

    Corresponding author
    1. Freshwater Biological Association, The Eastern Rivers Laboratory, c/o ITE Monks Wood, Abbots Ripton, Cambridgeshire PE17 2LS, U.K.
    Search for more papers by this author

Tel.: +44-015394-42468; fax: +44-015394-46914; email: pg@wpo.nerc.ac.uk

Abstract

In the River Great Ouse, 0+ roach, bream, chub, bleak and gudgeon were each divided into three‘ ecospecies’ on the basis of their morphology: young larvae, old larvae and juveniles. Ecologically similar species were positively associated and dissimilar species were negatively associated. All ecospecies, except juvenile bleak preferred water < 1 m deep, within 6 m of the bank with some plant cover. Habitat use was similar for all species. It is suggested that this habitat offers increased growth rate, reduced predation risk and increased food abundance to all species, and that species overlap is due to complementary habitat use rather than aggregation. During the early larval period all species fed predominantly upon rotifers and diatoms. During the late larval period there was a switch to Cladocera, primarily Chydoridae and Ceriodaphnia sp., and chironomid larvae. Species-specific dietary selection was evident during the juvenile period, with roach feeding primarily upon aufwuchs, bream upon Cladocera, chub upon Diptera, and gudgeon upon Copepoda.

Ancillary