Variation in Neotropical river otter (Lontra longicaudis) diet: Effects of an invasive prey species

Autoři: Diego Juarez-Sanchez aff001;  John G. Blake aff001;  Eric C. Hellgren aff001
Působiště autorů: Department of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida United States of America aff001
Vyšlo v časopise: PLoS ONE 14(10)
Kategorie: Research Article


Predation is one of the main barriers that exotic species may face in newly colonized areas and may help stop or control the potential negative impacts of invasive species in the environment. We evaluated if the consumption of an invasive prey (armored catfish: Pterygoplichtys sp.) affects the dietary niche breadth and trophic level of a native predator (Neotropical river otter: Lontra longicaudis) in northern Guatemala. We examined otter scats from three rivers: two where the invasive armored catfish occurred and one without the invasive fish. Samples were collected two and seven years after the first report of the catfish in the area. We performed gross scat analysis and stable isotope analyses of nitrogen and carbon of fecal matter. Where the invasive armored catfish occurred, it was the main prey item for L. longicaudis. Particularly in the river outside of protected areas seven years after the first report of the catfish, where it accounted for 49% of the otter diet. Concordance was found between the two techniques to estimate dietary niche breadth and trophic level. The dietary niche breath of otters was narrower seven years after the invasion in comparison to two years after the invasion in both invaded rivers, but the extent of the reduction was lesser inside the protected area. Finally, the trophic level of otters also showed a reduction related to the occurrence of the armored catfish in their diet.

Klíčová slova:

Ecological niches – Invasive species – Predation – Rivers – Trophic interactions – Otters – Freshwater fish – Catfish


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