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Endangered Species Research

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ESR 47:15-27 (2022)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/esr01161

Seasonal consumption of terrestrial prey by a threatened stream fish is influenced by riparian vegetation

Jacob Burbank1,2,*, D. Andrew R. Drake2, Michael Power1

1Department of Biology, University of Waterloo, 200 University Ave. W., Waterloo, Ontario N2L 3G1, Canada
2Great Lakes Laboratory for Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Burlington, Ontario L7S 1A1, Canada
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: The consumption of terrestrial prey by fishes highlights the functional value of terrestrial habitats, but such consumption is not well documented for many small-bodied species. We determined the diet and consumption of terrestrial prey by a threatened fish, silver shiner Notropis photogenis, using stomach content and stable isotope analyses to better understand the functional role of riparian habitat for the species. Results indicate silver shiner is a generalist drift feeder that consumes a wide range of aquatic and terrestrial prey. Both stomach content and stable isotope analyses indicated that terrestrial prey was commonly exploited and that terrestrial prey consumption was both seasonally and spatially variable. Based on stomach contents, the contribution of terrestrial prey was (average ± SD) 41.53 ± 32.35% in fall and 20.45 ± 20.45% in summer; based on stable isotopes it was 35.24 ± 4.41% in fall and 39.88 ± 12.34% in summer. During fall, when bankside terrestrial invertebrates were more abundant, silver shiner stomachs contained significantly more terrestrial prey in reaches where riparian vegetation cover was highest, indicating that intact riparian cover may facilitate access to high-quality prey. The consumption of terrestrial prey may be particularly important in fall, as it may promote increased growth and survival leading to more successful overwintering. Our findings suggest that terrestrial subsidies are ecologically valuable for silver shiner and that the protection of reaches with intact riparian habitats would likely improve conservation and recovery efforts by helping ensure access to key prey resources.


KEY WORDS: Cross-ecosystem resources · Diet · Freshwater fishes · Stable isotopes · Terrestrial-aquatic linkages · Threatened fishes


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Cite this article as: Burbank J, Drake DAR, Power M (2022) Seasonal consumption of terrestrial prey by a threatened stream fish is influenced by riparian vegetation. Endang Species Res 47:15-27. https://doi.org/10.3354/esr01161

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