Seasonal and habitat variations in diet of the invasive driftwood catfish Trachelyopterus galeatus in a Neotropical river basin, Brazil.
The characteristics of successful invaders often include generalist traits that enable adaptation to new environments through plastic responses, including their diet. The use of trophic resources of invasive driftwood catfish Trachelyopterus galeatus of the Upper Paraná River basin, Brazil, were studied with diet analysis and stable isotopic niche metrics based on δ15N and δ13C to test differences between a free-from-dam and damming population, and between wet and dry season. Stomach content analyses revealed significant differences between the populations. The diet of the riverine free-flowing river population was macroinvertebrate dominated, with Coleoptera and Lepidoptera prominent. In the damming population, diet was largely plant based, although Coleoptera was also prominent. Trophic niche breadth comparisons revealed a larger niche in the free-from-dam population versus the damming population that was independent of season. In both sites had dietary differences between the wet and dry season according to stomach contents analyses, although these were less prominent according to stable isotope metrics. Therefore, the diet of this invader is relatively general and plastic, enabling their exploitation of the varying availability of food resources between free-from-dam and damming river sections, and between wet and dry season.