Abstract

Feeding habits of seven cichlid species (Archocentrus octofasciatus, A. spilurus, "Cichlasoma" robertsoni, "e." synspilum, "e." urophthalmus, Petenia splendida, Thorichthys meeki) in Lake Caobas, southern Yucatan Peninsula, were studied. Samples were taken with enc\osure and cast nets during the dry and rainy seasons of 1995 (day and night). The environment was characterized by measuring temperature, conductivity and pH. All individuals were below 41 mm SL (N=281). Frequency of'occurrence and prey abundance were analyzed. Main prey items were chironomids, mites, copepods, c\ádocerans, and ostracods. The cichlids fed mainly on zooplankton, with the partial exceptions of P. splendida (piscivore), "e." synspilum and A. spilurus (herbivores). A cluster analysis showed that the most similar trophic spectra were those of T. meeki, "e." robertsoni and "e. " salvini, which were also the least diverse. "e." synspilum and A. spilurus had an interrnediate distance between their diets and those of other species. The species with the most distinctive feeding composition were P. splendida (with the most diverse and equitable diet) and theomnivore A. octofasciatus (whose diet was the richest one). T. meeki showed quantitative diel, ontogenetic, and seasonal diet changes, but none between sexes. "e. " robertsoni,
Keywords: cichlidae, autoecology, feeding habits, yucatán Peninsula, Mexico.