The influence of the invasive black bullhead Ameiurus melas on the predatory efficiency of pike Esox lucius L.
The influence of the invasive black bullhead Ameiurus melas on the predatory efficiency of the pike Esox lucius was investigated using an additive experimental design. Pike predatory success on 0+ years roach Rutilus rutilus was significantly reduced in the presence of black bullhead. Among the different hypotheses that may explain such a pattern, the hypothesis of direct competition between pike and black bullhead was not verified, as black bullhead hardly fed on roach. Similarly, pike predatory efficiency did not decrease with turbidity, rejecting therefore the hypothesis of an indirect effect through black bullhead-generated turbidity. Therefore, the reduced predatory efficiency of pike was probably related to behavioural interference between pike and black bullhead. These laboratory results confirm the potential negative impact of black bullhead on native European fauna, with a particular emphasis on pike, which is a top predator considered as vulnerable in some European regions.
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