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We examined diets of four piscivores, two in the order Perciformes (Cichla temensis and C. orinocensis) and two in the order Characiformes (Boulengerella cuvieri and B. lucius), from the Cinaruco, La Guardia, and Ventuari rivers in Venezuela throughout the wet-dry seasonal cycle. The four piscivores consumed a phylogenetically and morphologically diverse group of fishes, reflecting the overall diversity of fish species in these rivers. At the start of the falling-water period, Cichla consumed large prey, especially the abundant, migratory, fish of the genus Semaprochilodus. As these relatively large prey became depleted during the dry season, Cichla tended to consume smaller prey. For Boulengerella, gape limitation precluded consumption of larger, seasonally abundant, fishes, and so prey sizes were more consistent throughout the seasonal cycle. Our findings show how prey abundance and gape limitations interact to influence seasonal patterns of predator-prey interactions.


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doi: 10.1590/S1679-62252011005000028

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