Predation by eastern mudminnows (Umbra pygmaea) on macroinvertebrates of temporary wetlands
Lombardi, Susan Elizabeth
Lamp, William O.
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Fish play a substantial role in aquatic food webs, yet the effect of feeding activities of small stream fish that enter seasonally-flooded temporary wetlands during periods of hydrologic connectivity is not well understood. In this study, eastern mudminnows (Umbra pygmaea) were introduced to a fishless wetland in Caroline County, Maryland, and the aquatic macroinvertebrate community did not significantly change within two weeks. Gut contents of mudminnows collected from the wetland and a stream consisted primarily of dipteran larvae; ostracods were also a common food source for wetland mudminnows. Common prey not found in gut contents but present in the wetland were tested as food, and all taxa were consumed in a no-choice predation experiment. Mudminnows have the potential to directly affect multiple trophic levels and subsequent ecosystem functioning through predatory interactions with sustained hydrologic connectivity between fish sources and temporary wetlands.