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The introduced aquatic macrophyte myriophyllum spicatum as habitat for fish and their invertebrate prey


, : The introduced aquatic macrophyte myriophyllum spicatum as habitat for fish and their invertebrate prey. Canadian Journal of Zoology 62(7): 1289-1303

The exotic macrophyte M. spicatum spread widely in Lake Opinicon, Ontario, [Canada] after 1974, dominating the 2.0-3.5 m depth zone which had previously been largely open water. In the shallows it formed beds within the species-rich native Potamogeton-Vallisneria community. Fish and prey-invertebrate abundance and distribution were compared before and after the milfoil invasion for a series of depth zones (1972 relative to 1979-1980) and in communities of M. spicatum relative to native macrophytes in the littoral zone shallows in the summer of 1980. At a depth of 2.0-3.5 m (major M. spicatum zone), there were significantly fewer bluegill but more black crappie and golden shiner in 1979-1980 compared with 1972, and significantly fewer isopods, chironomid and trichopteran larvae and ephemeropteran nymphs. Differences were greatest in late summer. Inshore and offshore from the M. spicatum zone, differences were minor, suggesting that the invader, not time, was responsible. At a 1.0-1.3 m depth in the summer of 1980, 3-4 times as many fish occurred during the daytime feeding periof in the Potamogeton-Vallisneria community than in the M. spicatum area. In the benthos, beneath the native beds, 5 major taxa of prey invertebrates were 3-7 times more abundant. The foliage of Potamogeton plus Vallisneria supported twice as many invertebrates per square meter in late summer than did M. spicatum. Insect emergences over the summer (May-Sept.) were twice as high. Up to the present, the net impact of the habitat change on the fish populations of Lake Opinicon has not been great. If in the future M. spicatum were to replace the rich native macrophyte beds in the shallows, this would be cause for concern.

US$19.90

DOI: 10.1139/z84-186


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