Circumstantial evidence of gibel carp, Carassius gibelio, reproductive competition exerted on native fish species in a mesotrophic reservoir

Authors


Ali Serhan Tarkan, Muğla University, Faculty of Fisheries, 48000 Kötekli, Muğla, Turkey (e-mail: serhantarkan@gmail.com)

Abstract

Abstract  Gibel carp, Carassius gibelio (Bloch), impacts on native fish species have been reported but little studied despite a long history of introductions in Europe. This species is able to reproduce gynogenetically, which involves the use of sperm from males of other species to activate egg development, so reproductive competition is a likely but virtually unstudied impact of gibel carp on native fishes. This study evaluates the impact of introduced C. gibelio on the population biology of native fishes over a 6-year period in a mesotrophic drinking water reservoir in north-western Turkey. A dramatic decrease in the relative density (i.e. catch per unit effort) of native species correlated significantly with an increase in C. gibelio relative density. Growth characteristics (back-calculated ages, growth index and relative condition) and length at maturity did not differ significantly among years in C. gibelio and native fishes. Relative density, duration of spawning, reproductive effort and gonado-somatic index of C. gibelio increased with some water quality variables [total phosphorus (TP); chlorophyll-a (Chl-a)] and coincided with decreasing trends for natives. However, TP and Chl-a were not correlated with growth features in C. gibelio or natives fishes. The results suggest that the decline in the reservoir’s native cyprinid populations is likely due to a combination of degrading environmental conditions and a disparity in reproductive effort, with introduced C. gibelio invasion facilitated by gynogenetic reproduction and an observed interference with native fishes during spawning.

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