The diet of introduced brook trout (Salvelinus fontinalis; Mitchill, 1814) in an alpine area and a literature review on its feeding ecology
Introduced fish are a major threat for high altitude aquatic habitats and Salvelinus fontinalis have been widely used throughout the Alps for stocking lakes and rivers. Understanding its feeding ecology is a basic, but essential tool for interpreting its impact. To assess which factors determine the diet of S. fontinalis we analyzed more than 500 stomachs from several introduced populations from the Gran Paradiso National Park (GPNP, Western Italian Alps) and we measured the availability of several prey groups (zooplankton, aquatic invertebrates, terrestrial invertebrates). We complemented the study with a short, but exhaustive literature review on the S. fontinalis feeding ecology. In general the food composition reflected the availability of prey -confirming that S. fontinalis is an opportunistic predator- and was influenced by habitat type (stream vs lake), fish size, and seasonality. The obtained results were discussed in the light of the existing literature on the feeding ecology and ecological impact of S. fontinalis. Large benthonic insects account for a substantial part of the diet of stream dwelling brook trout, while they are almost absent both in the diet and in the prey species pool of lake-dwelling brook trout, probably reflecting a stronger ecological impact in the lakes.
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Copyright (c) 2016 Rocco Tiberti, Stefano Brighenti, Claudia Canedoli, Rocco Iacobuzio, Matteo Rolla
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