Diet and trophic structure of the fish assemblage in the mid-course of the Teles Pires River, Tapajós River basin, Brazil

ABSTRACT This study was carried out in a section of the middle course of the Teles Pires River, a clear water river that drains ancient and highly eroded geological formations, and where five hydropower plants are planned or in construction. In this study we tested the hypothesis that local fish fauna is mainly sustained by autochthonous food resources, with modest changes in the trophic structure of fish assemblages along the hydrometric cycle. Sampling was performed every three months between July 2008 and May 2009 at seven sites distributed along a 50-km section of the river. Piscivores was the most representative group in terms of biomass, abundance and species richness, followed by herbivores, insectivores and omnivores. The trophic structure did not change significantly during the hydrometric cycle, only omnivores showed significant temporal variation in abundance. The main food resources consumed by the ichthyofauna were of autochthonous origin, mainly immature aquatic insects and fish. Eight of 34 species showed temporal variations of the food resources consumed. Our results corroborate the hypothesis that the fish fauna of large, clear water rivers can be sustained by autochthonous resources. This contributes to understanding some determinants of fish production in large Neotropical rivers.