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      Feeding ecology of the leaf fish Monocirrhus polyacanthus (Perciformes: Polycentridae) in a terra firme stream in the Brazilian Amazon

      Neotropical Ichthyology
      Sociedade Brasileira de Ictiologia
      Diet, Feeding behavior, Piscivory, Camouflage

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          Monocirrhus polyacanthus (Polycentridae) is a remarkable leaf-mimicking fish that inhabits streams, lake and river margins along the Amazon basin. Despite its obvious predatory habits and being frequently present in the international aquarium trade, little is known about its diet under natural conditions. We examined 35 specimens of leaf fish (28.5-82.0 mm SL), of which 19 had food the stomach. Thirty-three preys were found in the stomach contents, 19 of which were measured (2.0-33.0 mm total length). Up to five preys were found in the stomach contents of a single leaf fish specimen. The diet of the leaf fish was constituted by fish (63.15% FO, n = 12) and invertebrates (36.3% FO, n = 4); fish and invertebrate preys occurred together in three stomachs (15.8% FO). Of the 33 prey found in the stomachs, 21 were fish and 12 invertebrates. Among the consumed prey fishes, Characiformes and Perciformes represented 76.1% and 14.2% respectively. Characidae was the most commonly recorded prey family, followed by Lebiasinidae. Invertebrates were represented by shrimps (Decapoda) and insects (Coleoptera, Hymenoptera, Ephemeroptera and Odonata). There was a positive relation between the size of the leaf fish specimens and of its consumed preys. The combination of leaf fish's visually effective body camouflage and the reduced activity of the characids at crepuscular hours probably allow the capture of such fast moving preys. The coiled position of the fishes found in the stomach of M. polyacanthus possibly allowed the accommodation of more than one prey simultaneously, which seems to be important for predators that consume proportionally large preys that are captured only occasionally.

          Translated abstract

          Monocirrhus polyacanthus (Polycentridae) é uma espécie de peixe cuja aparência e hábitos mimetizam uma folha morta à deriva, e que habita igarapés e margens de rios e lagos da bacia Amazônica. A despeito de seu reconhecido comportamento predatório e do fato de ser frequentemente explorada no comércio internacional de peixes ornamentais, pouco se conhece sobre sua dieta em condições naturais. Nós examinamos 35 exemplares de peixe-folha (28,5-82,0 mm CP), dos quais 19 continham presas no estômago. Trinta e três presas foram encontradas, das quais foi possível estabelecer o comprimento total de 19 delas (2,0-33,0 mm CT). Até cinco presas foram encontradas no estômago de um único exemplar. A dieta dos peixes-folha foi constituída por peixes (n = 12; 63,15% FO) e invertebrados (n = 4; 21,05% FO); peixes e invertebrados ocorreram juntos em três estômagos examinados (15,8% FO). Das 33 presas encontradas nos estômagos analisados, 21 foram peixes e 12 invertebrados. Dentre os peixes consumidos, Characiformes e Perciformes representaram 76,1% e 14,2%, respectivamente. Characidae foi a família de presas mais comum, seguida de Lebiasinidae. Invertebrados (presas) foram representados por camarões (Decapoda) e insetos (Coleoptera, Hymenoptera, Ephemeroptera e Odonata). Constatou-se uma relação positiva entre o tamanho do predador e da presa. A combinação da camuflagem corporal do peixe-folha, a baixa atividade dos caracídeos nos horários de crepúsculo e a eficiência do mecanismo de captura de presas por sucção, provavelmente possibilitam a captura de presas ágeis e de hábitos nectônicos. A posição encurvada dos peixes nos estômagos dos exemplares de M. polyacanthus possivelmente facilita a acomodação simultânea de mais de uma presa no estômago, o que deve ser especialmente importante para predadores que consomem presas grandes e apenas ocasionalmente.

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          Most cited references15

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          Stomach contents analysis-a review of methods and their application

          E. Hyslop (1980)
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            Functional morphology of extreme jaw protrusion in Neotropical cichlids.

            The New World cichlids Petenia splendida and Caquetaia spp. possess extraordinarily protrusible jaws. We investigated the feeding behavior of extreme (here defined as greater than 30% head length) and modest jaw-protruding Neotropical cichlids by comparing feeding kinematics, cranial morphology, and feeding performance. Digital high-speed video (500 fps) of P. splendida, C. spectabile, and Astronotus ocellatus feeding on live guppy prey was analyzed to generate kinematic and performance variables. All three cichlid taxa utilized cranial elevation, lower jaw depression, and rotation of the suspensorium to protrude the jaws during feeding experiments. Extreme anterior jaw protrusion in P. splendida and C. spectabile resulted from augmented lower jaw depression and anterior rotation of the suspensorium. Morphological comparisons among eight cichlid species revealed novel anterior and posterior points of flexion within the suspensorium of P. splendida and Caquetaia spp. The combination of anterior and posterior loosening within the suspensorium in P. splendida and Caquetaia spp. permitted considerable anterior rotation of the suspensorium and contributed to protrusion of the jaws. Petenia splendida and C. spectabile exhibited greater ram distance and higher ram velocities than did A. ocellatus, resulting primarily from increased jaw protrusion. Petenia splendida and C. spectabile exhibited lower suction feeding performance than A. ocellatus, as indicated by lower suction-induced prey movements and velocities. Thus, extreme jaw protrusion in these cichlids may represent an adaptation for capturing elusive prey by enhancing the ram velocity of the predator but does not enhance suction feeding performance. Copyright 2003 Wiley-Liss, Inc.
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              Fallen leaves on the water-bed: diurnal camouflage of three night active fish species in an Amazonian streamlet

              Resemblance to dead leaves is a well known type of camouflage recorded for several small vertebrates that dwell in the leaf and root litter on the ground. We present here instances of such resemblance in three species of nocturnal fishes (Siluriformes and Gymnotiformes) that spend the daytime among submersed root-tangle with leaf litter in Amazonian streams. All three species are very difficult to spot visually, due both to their shape and colors which blend with the substrate, as well as to the heterogeneous nature of their cover. Two species were recorded to lie on their sides, which adds to their resemblance to dead leaves. When disturbed, one species may drift like a waterlogged leaf, whereas another moves upwards the root-tangle, exposing its fore body above the water surface. We regard their leaf-like shapes, cryptic colors, and escape movements as a convergence in defensive responses to visually hunting aquatic vertebrates, most likely diurnal predaceous fishes.

                Author and article information

                Neotropical Ichthyology
                Neotrop. ichthyol.
                Sociedade Brasileira de Ictiologia (Maringá, PR, Brazil )
                March 2010
                : 8
                : 1
                : 183-186
                [02] Manaus AM orgnameInstituto Nacional de Pesquisas da Amazônia orgdiv1Coordenação de Pesquisas em Biologia Aquática Brazil zuanon@ 123456inpa.gov.br
                [01] Manaus AM orgnameUniversidade Federal do Amazonas orgdiv1Laboratório de Ecologia Pesqueira Brazil
                S1679-62252010000100022 S1679-6225(10)00800122

                This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

                : 31 March 2010
                : 06 January 2010
                Page count
                Figures: 0, Tables: 0, Equations: 0, References: 15, Pages: 4

                SciELO Brazil

                Scientific Note

                Camouflage,Piscivory,Feeding behavior,Diet
                Camouflage, Piscivory, Feeding behavior, Diet


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