Playing out Liem’s Paradox: Opportunistic piscivory across Lake Tanganyikan cichlids

By Golcher-Benavides, Jimena & C.E. Wagner

The American Naturalist, v. 194(n. 2), pp. 260-267 (Aug-2019). DOI: 10.1086/704169


" Trophic specialization is a key feature of the diversity of cichlid fish adaptive radiations. However, K. F. Liem observed that even species with highly specialized trophic morphologies have dietary flexibility, enabling them to exploit episodic food resources opportunistically. Evidence for dietary flexibility comes largely from laboratory studies, and it is unclear whether cichlid fishes undergo diet shifts in the wild. We report observations of diet switching by multiple cichlid species in Lake Tanganyika as a consequence of unusual concentrations of schooling juvenile clupeid fishes. Fish species with varying degrees of trophic specialization converged on a single prey: juvenile sardines that are also endemic to Lake Tanganyika (Stolothrissa tanganicae and Limnothrissa miodon). We provide evidence for cichlid species acting as jacks-of-all-trades and discuss this evidence in the framework of Liem's classic paradox: that trophic specialization does not preclude dietary flexibility "

Classification: Behavior, Lake Tanganyika.

Language: English

Golcher-Benavides, Jimena & C.E. Wagner. 2019. "Playing out Liem’s Paradox: Opportunistic piscivory across Lake Tanganyikan cichlids". The American Naturalist. v. 194(n. 2), pp. 260-267 (crc09462) (abstract)