Abstract

Freshwater decapod crustaceans are important components of food webs in these environments, but little is known about the diet of species that live in tropical waters. We studied the feeding ecology of the prawn Pseudopalaemon bouvieri and its population structure in two different areas with six lagoons, with a different composition and abundance of aquatic macrophytes. At each site of macrophytes banks, 18 prawns sample was collected with a hand net (1mm mesh size) from 1m². In the laboratory, prawns cephalothorax length was measured, sex determined, and a total of 208 stomachs were examined for food items. Our results showed that the population abundance varied between 10 ind/m2 and 1 411 ind/m2. The cephalothorax length ranged between 6mm and 21mm, and the male:female ratio varied between 0.3 and 1.0, with a higher proportion of ovigerous females (21%) in area one than area two. P. bouvieri is omnivorous, and its diet was principally based on algae, plant remains, Protozoa, Rotifera, Oligochaeta, Crustacea, Insecta, detritus and other items. The analysis of the stomach content did not reveal any significant difference in the diet between juveniles and adults, and males and females of both areas consumed a similar diet (Kruskal-Wallis test p=0.8273). We concluded that the dietary items consumed by prawns and the niche breadth were similar between the two areas, although the proportion of items consumed varied between lagoons of both areas. The density of P. bouvieri was different between areas, but the size of cephalothorax (CL) was similar
Keywords: feeding ecology, omnivorous, sex ratio, prawn densities, crustacea