Experimental herbivory of native Australian macrophytes by the introduced Mozambique tilapia Oreochromis mossambicus
Article first published online: 13 JUL 2009
© 2009 The Authors. Journal compilation © 2010 Ecological Society of Australia
Volume 35, Issue 1, pages 24–30, February 2010
How to Cite
DOUPÉ, R. G., KNOTT, M. J., SCHAFFER, J., BURROWS, D. W. and LYMBERY, A. J. (2010), Experimental herbivory of native Australian macrophytes by the introduced Mozambique tilapia Oreochromis mossambicus. Austral Ecology, 35: 24–30. doi: 10.1111/j.1442-9993.2009.02008.x
- Issue published online: 21 JAN 2010
- Article first published online: 13 JUL 2009
- Accepted for publication February 2009.
- aquatic invasions;
- introduced species;
- trophic plasticity
This study describes experimental herbivory and detritivory of three common native aquatic macrophyte species by the introduced Mozambique tilapia Oreochromis mossambicus (Peters) (Pisces: Cichlidae), and its physiological response to their consumption. There was a highly significant effect of fish herbivory on plant weight for each of the macrophyte species, but this effect was not influenced by any preference for periphyton. Despite the herbivory, there was a highly significant loss of fish body weight across all plant species and weight could only be maintained by supplementary feeding of a high protein fish flake. These results suggest that despite eating these plants, an alternative food resource may be needed for survival and may trigger trophic plasticity in O. mossambicus.