Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

DNA metabarcoding for dietary analysis of Holland's carp (Spinibarbus hollandi) to evaluate the threat to native fishes in Taiwan.

Abstract

DNA metabarcoding analysis for gut contents has been shown to compensate the disadvantage of traditionally morphological identification and offer higher resolution of prey items in an efficient way. Holland's carp (Spinibarbus hollandi) is a freshwater fish native to southern and eastern Taiwan. In the past two decades, this species has been introduced as a sport fish into the river basins of northern and western Taiwan. The large body size and active predation make it a potential threat for native fishes, but which native species are preyed by Holland's carp remains unknown. In this study, the diet from the gut contents of Holland's carp from the Zhonggang River, an invaded basin, was examined using DNA metabarcoding from 51 individuals and by morphological examinations on 140 samples. Detritus of plants were found in 83.6% samples (117 individuals). Twenty fish species of seven families were identified by DNA metabarcoding, including species of all water layers. Taiwan torrent carp (Acrossocheilus paradoxus) and Rhinogobius spp. are the most common prey items. Based on the results of this study, Holland's carp is considered an opportunistic omnivore because of its diverse diet items, which is an important trait for successful invasive fish species. The population decline of Opsariichthys pachycephalus may not result from the invasion of Holland's carps. Nonetheless, the time lag between successful invasion and the samplings of this study may be a concern because the population size of O. pachycephalus may have declined and become difficult to prey. The Holland's carps consumed the least species in winter; nonetheless, the occurrence frequencies of preys among seasons were not significantly different probably because of limited temperature fluctuation. The smallest Holland's carps consumed the least prey species compared to other size categories, similar to the relationship of prey species number to size of invasive largemouth bass (Micropterus salmoides).