Collapse of a reproducing population of non-native African jewelfish (Hemichromis letourneuxi) in a Florida lake

  • Established populations of non-natives may collapse without a clear causal mechanism. Hypothetically, fluctuations in habitat structural complexity may influence dynamics of invaders and the biotic resistance offered by predators. Herein I report observations of the collapse of a reproducing population of the nonnative African jewelfish (Hemichromis letourneuxi) in a Florida lake concurrent with an unusual low-water period. I test the hypothesis that predation may have played a key role in the collapse using a combination of field surveys of habitat and fish abundance and predator-prey experiments. Habitat complexity was high before and after the low water period but virtually nonexistent during low water. The abundance of African jewelfish and native juvenile bluegill (Lepomis macrochirus) and eastern mosquitofish (Gambusia holbrooki) declined concurrently with decreasing complexity but the native species rebounded when lake levels increased. Large-bodied natives such as largemouth bass (Micropterus salmoides) and adult bluegill showed no pattern of fluctuation related to habitat complexity. African jewelfish survival was 1.6 times greater at high versus low complexity and over 7 times higher versus no complexity in the presence of largemouth bass. Conversely, eastern mosquitofish, a species that exerts strong effects on small-bodied fishes in structurally complex habitats had no effect on African jewelfish survival. Predation effects on susceptible non-natives should be considered as a potential control action. Population collapse is understudied but may provide insights into long-term dynamics of invaders and information useful for management of problematic species.

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Author:Jeffrey E. Hill
Parent Title (English):NeoBiota
Document Type:Article
Year of first Publication:2016
Publishing Institution:Universit├Ątsbibliothek Johann Christian Senckenberg
Release Date:2018/01/23
Tag:Cichlidae; Population collapse; biotic resistance; drought; habitat complexity; invasive; predation
Page Number:18
First Page:35
Last Page:52
Dewey Decimal Classification:5 Naturwissenschaften und Mathematik / 59 Tiere (Zoologie) / 590 Tiere (Zoologie)
Sammlungen:Sammlung Biologie / Sondersammelgebiets-Volltexte
Zeitschriften / Jahresberichte:NeoBiota / NeoBiota 29
Licence (German):License LogoCreative Commons - Namensnennung 4.0