dispersal, mosquitofish, invasive, Gambusia holbrooki, behavior
Mosquitofish (Gambusia holbrooki) are native to the southeastern United States but invasive elsewhere, and are dominant predators in many ecosystems that they inhabit. Information on dispersal behavior will help better understand and predict mosquitofish metapopulation dynamics and invasions. I experimentally tested dispersal behavior of individual mosquitofish under a range of laboratory conditions relevant to field situations. Preliminary experiments showed that gender, lighting conditions, hunger and acclimation time did not significantly affect net dispersal rate. Power analysis based on this preliminary experiment determined that 6 replicate fish were sufficient for each subsequent experiment; I used 24 fish, and each fish was tested one time. Three factors that potentially could affect net swimming rate were tested: habitat of origin (permanent vs. temporary waters), water depth (3-24 mm), and the interaction between water depth and leaf litter type (upland and wetland). Fish from a temporary pond dispersed significantly faster than fish from a permanent pond, and fish dispersed significantly faster in deeper water than in shallower water. However, leaf litter significantly inhibited fish dispersal at all depths tested. Based on these experiments, G. holbrooki disperse more readily through relatively open and deeper (several centimeters) pathways between habitats such as roadside ditches, drainage canals and trails in flooded conditions. My results are useful for understanding mosquitofish dispersal behavior based on the abiotic and biotic factors examined in this experiment. I predict that mosquitofish can spread from a point of introduction at about 800 m per day, given and unobstructed path of only > 6 mm depth.
Master of Science (M.S.)
College of Arts and Sciences
Length of Campus-only Access
Masters Thesis (Open Access)
Alemadi, Shireen, "Dispersal Behavior Of Mosquitofish (gambusia Holbrooki)" (2006). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 804.