Trophic consequences of an invasive, small-bodied nonnative fish, sunbleak Leucaspius delineatus, for native pond fishes

Tea Bašić, Gordon Copp, Veronica Edmonds-Brown, Emre Keskin, Phillip Davison, Robert Britton

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Assessments of the trophic consequences of invasive fishes are important for quantifying their ecological impacts on native species more generally. A small-bodied cyprinid fish native to continental Europe and introduced in the 1970s to the U.K, the sunbleak Leuciscus delineatus, has been shown previously to establish closer social associations with native species of similar size than do native species amongst themselves. To assess the potential detrimental trophic consequences of native species associations with L. delineatus, a field-based experiment
was undertaken in summer 2015 in six outdoor, artificial ponds containing three native cyprinid species (rudd Scardinius erthrophthalamus, gudgeon Gobio gobio, tench Tinca tinca). Three ponds were controls (no L. delineatus) and three were treatments (L. delineatus present). The results of stable isotope analysis (SIA) of fish tissue samples provided strong evidence that theisotopic niches of bothnative benthic fishes were reduced in the presence of L. delineatus, although there were no significant effects on the trophic position, body size or condition of two of the three native fish species. Introduced L. delineatus maintained a core isotopic niche that was distinct from the two native benthic fishes, with no overlap detected between native and non-native fishes when including 40% and 95% of the data. These results indicate that the response of the native fishes to the introduction of L. delineatus was niche constriction via trophic specialisation,withthis response sufficienttomaintain their growth rates and condition. This result is similar to studies on a range of small-bodied invasive fishes, suggesting the trophic impacts of these invaders are relatively consistent across species and systems.
Keywords Trophic niche Stable isotope analysis Non-native species Niche constriction Outdoor experimental ponds
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)261–275
Number of pages15
JournalBiological Invasions
Issue number1
Early online date27 Nov 2018
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2019


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