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Rainbow trout salmo gairdneri and cutthroat trout salmo clarki interactions in coastal british columbia lakes canada


, : Rainbow trout salmo gairdneri and cutthroat trout salmo clarki interactions in coastal british columbia lakes canada. Canadian Journal of Fisheries & Aquatic Sciences 38(10): 1228-1246

Food, size and growth of 17 allopatric and 10 sympatric lake populations of rainbow trout (S. gairdneri) and cutthroat trout (S. clarki) were compared, as well as their aggressive behavior during feeding in experimental tanks. In allopatry, rainbow trout fed extensively on benthic, midwater and surface prey. Allopatric cutthroat utilized mostly midwater prey but, in contrast with rainbow trout, also ate fish (Cottus, Gasterosteus) when available. In sympatry, rainbow trout exploited mainly limnetic surface and midwater prey; cutthroat trout utilized more littoral prey and were much more piscivorous in feeding. Allopatric rainbow attained a greater average and maximum size (length, weight) than allopatric cutthroat; in sympatric populations cutthroat were clearly larger than rainbow. Growth (size at specific ages) usually was higher for rainbow compared with cutthroat trout in allopatric populations but just the reverse in sympatric populations. When held as matched pairs in aquaria, rainbow consistently were more aggressive than cutthroat trout and displayed different patterns of threat as well as means of prey capture. Differences in feeding and growth in sympatry may result from interactive segregation, the more pronounced aggressiveness of rainbow promoting higher growth in cutthroat trout.

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