Diel changeover in sandbank fish assemblages in a neotropical floodplain river
Fishes were collected over 7 months (February to June and November to December 1999) from seven sandbanks located on the main channel of the Cinaruco River, Venezuela. Significant shifts in assemblage structure and species richness were documented between diurnal and nocturnal samples. Seine samples standardized for effort yielded 41 604 individual fishes representing seven orders, 25 families, 80 genera and 134 species. Nocturnal samples yielded 68% of the total individuals, and 54% of species were collected exclusively at night. Nocturnal samples were significantly more species rich than their paired diurnal samples, even after rarefaction. Correspondence analysis revealed consistent differences in assemblage structure between diurnal and nocturnal samples probably due to species-specific habitat use and activity patterns. In spite of the magnitude of seasonal variation in hydrology and habitat availability in the Cinaruco River, species richness and abundance on sandbanks varied relatively little. The study of biological diversity and understanding of patterns of habitat use in a neotropical river were enhanced by nocturnal sampling.
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