Variability of fish diets between dry and flood periods in an arid zone floodplain river

S.R. Balcombe, S.E. Bunn, F.J. Mckenzie -Smith, Peter Davies

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The fish assemblages of an and zone floodplain river. Cooper Creek, Queensland, Australia. were sampled during two dry periods in isolated waterholes and oil the inundated floodplain during the early and late phase or a major flood event. Diets were described for nine native species and compared within and between dry and flood periods. In the dry season, when fishes were restricted to waterholes, diets were characteristically simple with narrow diet breadths. Movement onto the floodplain during flooding clearly increased feeding opportunities, with greater diet breadths evident in all species. Despite obvious potential for terrestrial inputs, diets tended to be dominated by aquatic resources in both the waterholes and oil the floodplain. Stomach fullness, however, varied little between dry season waterhole and floodplain samples. Fishes appeared to feed oil potentially lower value resources such as detritus and calanoid copepods during the dry season, when waterholes were isolated and food resources were limited. They were then able to capitalize on the 'boom' of aquatic production and more diverse food resources associated with episodic flood events. (c) 2005 The Fisheries Society of the British Isles.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1552-1567
JournalJournal of Fish Biology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2005


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