The identification of mechanisms of spatial-temporal variation, obtained from the quantification of natural populations, is a central topic of ecological research. Despite its importance to life-history theory, as well as to conservation and management of natural populations, no studies concerning movement patterns and home range of small stream-dwelling fishes from Brazilian rain forests are known. In the present study we aimed to describe the longitudinal pattern of long distance movement as well as local patterns of short movement (daily home-range) of fishes from a Mata Atlântica stream from Southeast Brazil. We gathered information about movement dynamic in order to discuss the relationship between swimming ability, fish morphology and home range. Long distance movement data were obtained in a mark-recapture experiment held in the field between June and September - 2008, on five sites along the Ubatiba stream. For this study, we had one day to mark fishes, on June-19, and 14 events for recapture. Considering the ten species that inhabit the study area, our study showed that four species: Astyanax janeiroensis, Astyanax hastatus, Parotocinclus maculicauda and Pimelodella lateristriga, moved at least 6 000m in 60 days. The other six species did not present long distance movements, as they were recaptured in the same site 90 days after being marked. For short distance study, movement data were obtained in one mark-recapture experiment held in a 100m long site subdivided into five 20m stretches where fishes were marked with different elastomer colours. We marked 583 specimens that after recapture showed two groups of different movement patterns. The first group was called “Long Movement Group” and the second one was called “Short Movement Group”. The Long Movement Group showed, on average, 89.8% of moving fishes and 10.2% of non moving fishes, against 21.3% and 78.7%, respectively, for the Short Movement Group. It was concluded that fish movement could explain the previously mentioned community stability, and that it is correlated to specific morphological attributes.
Keywords: migration, home-range, life history, characins, siluroidei, brazil