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Trophic consequences of non‐native species for commercial fish in a backwater bay of the Three Gorges Reservoir, Southwest China

Li, Bin, Luo, Huan, Xu, Dandan, Wang, Yongming, Xie, Chongyou, Wang, Zhijian, Xiong, Xiaoqin, Tao, Min
Journal of applied ichthyology 2019 v.35 no.5 pp. 1119-1128
Coilia nasus, anchovies, carbon, diet, indigenous species, introduced species, lakes, nitrogen, rivers, stable isotopes, viability, water reservoirs, China, Yangtze River
Trophic niche overlap in native and alien fish species can lead to competitive interactions whereby non‐native fishes outcompete indigenous individuals and eventually affect the viability of natural populations. The species Erythroculter mongolicus and Erythroculter ilishaeformis (belonging to the Culterinae), which are two commercially important fish species in the backwater bay of the Pengxi River in the Three Gorges Reservoir (TGR), were threatened by competition from the non‐native Coilia ectenes (lake anchovy). The latter is an alien species introduced into the lower reaches of the Yangtze River in China and now widespread in the TGR. The trophic consequences of non‐native lake anchovy invasion for E. mongolicus and E. ilishaeformis were assessed using stable isotope analysis (δ¹³C and δ¹⁵N) and associated metrics including the isotopic niche, measured as the standard ellipse area. The trophic niche of native E. mongolicus had little overlap (<15%) with the alien fish species and was significantly reduced in size after invasion by lake anchovy. This suggests that E. mongolicus shifted to a more specialized diet after invasion by lake anchovy. In contrast, the trophic niche overlap of native fish E. ilishaeformis with the alien fish species was larger (>50%) and the niche was obviously increased, implying that fish in this species exploited a wider dietary base to maintain their energetic requirements. Thus, marked changes for the native E. mongolicus and E. ilishaeformis were detected as the trophic consequences of invasion of non‐native lake anchovy.