Predicting predatory impact of juvenile invasive lionfish (Pterois volitans) on a crustacean prey using functional response analysis: effects of temperature, habitat complexity and light regimes

Josie South*, Jaimie T.A. Dick, Monica McCard, Daniel O'Neill, Andrea Anton

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

20 Citations (Scopus)
198 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

The ecological implications of biotic interactions, such as predator-prey relationships, are often context-dependent. Comparative functional responses analysis can be used under different abiotic contexts to improve understanding and prediction of the ecological impact of invasive species. Pterois volitans (Lionfish) [Linnaeus 1758] is an established invasive species in the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico, with a more recent invasion into the Mediterranean. Lionfish are generalist predators that impact a wide range of commercial and non-commercial species. Functional response analysis was employed to quantify interaction strength between lionfish and a generic prey species, the shrimp (Paleomonetes varians) [Leach 1814], under the contexts of differing temperature, habitat complexity and light wavelength. Lionfish have prey population destabilising Type II functional responses under all contexts examined. Significantly more prey were consumed at 26 °C than at 22 °C. Habitat complexity did not significantly alter the functional response parameters. Significantly more prey were consumed under white light and blue light than under red light. Attack rate was significantly higher under white light than under blue or red light. Light wavelength did not significantly change handling times. The impacts on prey populations through feeding rates may increase with concomitant temperature increase. As attack rates are very high at low habitat complexity this may elucidate the cause of high impact upon degraded reef ecosystems with low-density prey populations, although there was little protection conferred through habitat complexity. Only red light (i.e. dark) afforded any reduction in predation pressure. Management initiatives should account for these environmental factors when planning mitigation and prevention strategies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalEnvironmental Biology of Fishes
Early online date01 Jul 2017
DOIs
Publication statusEarly online date - 01 Jul 2017

Keywords

  • Feeding ecology
  • Functional response
  • Invasive species
  • Lionfish

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Aquatic Science

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