Detritivory in neotropical fish communities

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Fish communities of major river systems in South America contain a high proportion of detritivorous fishes in the families Prochilodontidae and Curimatidae. These families include important fish stocks that in some regions comprise over 50 percent of the community ichthyomass. As a group, detritivores have anatomical-physiological adaptations for collection and digestion of detritus, but the actual mechanisms of these presumed adaptations have to-date only been inferred. Dietary requirements have not been identified. Behavioral adaptation is implied by feeding habitat selection but its nutritional significance is unknown. Because many of these species have commercial importance, and because ongoing construction of impoundments threatens to disrupt seasonal migrations between spawning and feeding areas, an understanding of the feeding biology of detritivores is important. © 1983 Dr W. Junk Publishers.

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Environmental Biology of Fishes