Barrier, R.F.G. & Hicks, B.J. (1994). Behavioural interactions between black mudfish (Neochanna diversus Stokell, 1949: Galaxiidae) and mosquitofish (Gambusia affinis Baird & Girard, 1854). Ecology of Freshwater Fish 3(3), 93-99.
Permanent Research Commons link: http://hdl.handle.net/10289/2210
The behavior of black mudfish (Neochanna diversus Stokell, 1949: Galaxiidae) and mosquitofish (Gambusia affinis Baird & Girard, 1854: Poeciliidae) was investigated in laboratory tanks. Black mudfish are indigenous to northern New Zealand, and mosquitofish are introduced; both species are sympatric in wetlands in the Waikato region. By comparing position, feeding rates and aggressive behavior of both species, we found that black mudfish were increasingly able to compete with mosquitofish as they grew from fry to adults. Mosquitofish were more aggressive towards mudfish fry and juveniles than were these two life stages towards mosquitofish, but adult mudfish were aggressive towards mosquitofish. Both small (18–24 mm total length (TL)) and large mosquitofish (25–36 mm TL) showed high aggression towards mudfish fry (13–18 mm TL), and fry were eaten by large mosquitofish. However, 3 interspecific differences appear to allow coexistence of these two species. Firstly, mudfish reproduce in winter, whereas mosquitofish reproduce in summer, resulting in mudfish fry being present when mosquitofish are at their lowest abundance. Secondly, mudfish can survive in seasonally dry habitats by aestivation, while mosquitofish cannot. Thirdly, adult black mudfish are nocturnal, whereas mosquitofish are primarily diurnal.
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