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What are the reasons for the Prussian carp expansion in the upper Elbe River, Czech Republic?

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Fifty five Prussian carp Carassius auratus gibelio were radio‐tracked weekly along the course of the upper Elbe River, for 15 months. In addition, diurnal movements were observed in three different habitat types (main channel, navigation canal and floodplain areas). Fish species composition from 10 fish ladders was regularly analysed in 1996, 2000 and 2001, and patterns of juvenile (0+ year) fish distribution and abundance were collected in 2000 and 2001, to support telemetric data on longitudinal migrations, and habitat preference within the studied stretch. Downstream migrations dominated in all seasons, being most intensive in spring and reaching a maximum distance of 85 km. Migration stopped when specimens found a floodplain area, where they occupied larger home ranges compared to the main channel. Migrations upstream of up to 2 km were rare, and specimens did not enter fish ladders. Spontaneous reproduction only occurred on the floodplain and its success was very low. The results suggested that neither upstream migrations, nor spontaneous reproduction represented the key mechanism for the Prussian carp invasion into the Elbe catchment area of the Czech Republic. It can be assumed that escapes from aquaculture activities are primarily responsible for its expansion.

Keywords: downstream migration; expansion; floodplain area; reproduction; river slope

Document Type: Regular Paper


Affiliations: 1: T G M – Water Research Institute, Podbabská 30, 160 62 Prague 6, Czech Republic and 2: Institute of Animal Production, Ethology Group, 104 00 Prague 10 – Uhříněves, Czech Republic

Publication date: 2004-12-01

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