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The introduction, origin and life-history attributes of the non-native cichlid Etroplus suratensis in the coastal waters of Singapore


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Etroplus suratensis, a southern Asian cichlid, has established populations in Singapore. The fish, which was first collected in 1995, was probably introduced via the aquarium trade or through the Johor River in Malaysia. The growth, feeding and reproductive characteristics were found to follow its ecology in its native range in southern Asia, and its establishment in Singapore could be due to the similarity in environment and availability of food. Changes in intestinal length indicated diet shifts from a predominantly herbivorous to an omnivorous one as it matured. Stomach contents did not provide comparable evidence. Diet similarity to two other introduced cichlids may imply that interspecies resource competition exists. Closer monitoring is needed to determine its effects on the local environment.