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Morphological characteristics in relation to diet in five coexisting Thai fish species

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Morphological characteristics and intestinal content were analysed for five species of coexisting freshwater fishes in Thailand: Rasbora caudimaculata, Schistura desmotes, Dermogenys pusillus, Xenentodon cancila and Monopterus albus(all found in riffle habitats in Thai streams). Rasbora caudimaculata, S. desmotes and D. pusillus fed predominantly on ephemeropterans, hymenopterans and dipterans, X. cancila fed predominantly on fishes, and larger aquatic invertebrates such as Odonata, and M. albus fed on detritus as well as invertebrate prey such as crustaceans and Odonata. Intestine length, mouth height, mouth width, eye position and mouth orientation varied among all five species. Canonical analysis of discriminance of mouth height, width and intestine length showed a clear dispersion of species, which was supported by intestine content. Evolutionary processes leading to the present differences in morphological characters resulted in each of the five species consuming a different portion of the available resource base, thereby facilitating coexistence.

Keywords: Thailand; diet; morphology; prey selection

Document Type: Regular Paper


Affiliations: Department of Biology, Burapha University, Bangsaen, Chonburi 20131, Thailand

Publication date: October 1, 2005


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