Interpopulation Variability in Dietary Traits of Invasive Bleak Alburnus alburnus (Actinopterygii, Cyprinidae) Across the Iberian Peninsula

The bleak Alburnus alburnus is native to most of Europe. This cyprinid fish is a successful invader in the Iberian Peninsula. No studies exist on its foraging strategies on a large scale for this ecoregion. The aim of the present study was to compare dietary traits of invasive bleak among the main Iberian rivers and a ‘reference’ native bleak population from France. Bleak were sampled during May–June 2019 from the Iberian Rivers Ebro, Tagus, Guadiana, Segura and Guadalquivir and the River Saône (France). Diptera larvae and zooplankton were common food categories in the River Saône. Insect nymphs were more important in the River Ebro. The intake of plant material was higher in the River Tagus. Flying insects were more consumed in the River Guadiana. Nektonic insects were important in the River Guadalquivir. Detritus was a frequent food category for all populations, in terms of occurrence and mass. Dietary parameters followed a unimodal response in relation to the latitudinal gradient, with the maximum values for the Tagus and Guadiana populations. Overall, results suggest that this wide interpopulation variability will contribute to the species’ successful establishment throughout Mediterranean Europe, which poses a serious risk to its highly valuable native fish fauna ​
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