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Research article2023Peer reviewedOpen access

Environmental abundances of the non-native round goby Neogobius melanostomus influence feeding of native fish predators

Herlevi, Heidi; Kihlberg, Isa Wallin; Aarnio, Katri; Bonsdorff, Erik; Florin, Ann-Britt; Ljung, Andreas; Lundstrom, Karl; Mattila, Johanna; Ostman, Orjan


The authors assessed the importance of the round goby Neogobius melanostomus as prey for three native predatory fish species, Atlantic cod Gadus morhua, European perch Perca fluviatilis and northern pike Esox lucius, in a northern and southern area of the Baltic Proper, using a combination of visual analysis and DNA metabarcoding of predator stomach contents. To explore the influence of environmental abundances of N. melanostomus on predation, they related the occurrence of N. melanostomus in predator diets to its abundance in survey fishing. Gadus morhua and E. lucius in the southern area showed the highest tendency to feed on N. melanostomus when it was abundant, as N. melanostomus occurred in up to 100% of stomachs and constituted up to 88% of the total diet volume proportion. The diet contribution of N. melanostomus was associated with N. melanostomus abundances for G. morhua and E. lucius, and when N. melanostomus was abundant, these predators exhibited lower prey richness and a higher degree of piscivory. G. morhua and P. fluviatilis also fed less on crustacean prey when N. melanostomus was abundant. The high importance of N. melanostomus in diets of native fish predators may modify indirect interactions between N. melanostomus and native prey species in invaded coastal communities.


feeding strategy; introduced species; molecular methods; non-indigenous prey; predator-prey interactions; trophic interactions

Published in

Journal of Fish Biology
2023, Volume: 102, number: 6, pages: 1340-1357
Publisher: WILEY