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Keywords:

  • Australoheros facetus;
  • non-native fish;
  • abundance;
  • diet breadth;
  • Guadiana drainage

Abstract –  Ecological attributes behind the success of the South American cichlid Australoheros facetus in mediterranean-type rivers remain unclear. This study addresses this issue, by analysing its abundance and feeding patterns in the lower Guadiana drainage (Portugal), during the dry season of 2003. Despite slight spatial variations in abundance and individual size, A. facetus seemed well established in the Guadiana, Vascão and Ardila rivers. No seasonal or size-related changes in feeding intensity were found, but the diet changed across rivers, over time and throughout ontogeny. Feeding seemed highly generalist, with fish apparently reacting to both spatial and temporal changes in food supply and tending to use the most abundant and easily accessible food items. Overall prey breadth was broad relative to that of other native and non-native species. It is suggested that a generalist feeding strategy may play a significant role in the establishment of non-native fish in mediterranean-type rivers.