Great Basin Naturalist


Observations of changes in population density of native White River springfish (Crenichthys baileyi) in Pahranagat Valley led to the following hypothesis: introduced convict cichlids (Cichlasoma nigrofasciatum) cause reduced growth and recruitment; cover reduces the magnitude of the effect. The hypothesis was tested by establishing sympatric and allopatric groups of the two species in experimental aquaria with and without cover. Change in volume (= mass) and length of the two species over a three-month period in spring 1986 and 1987 was measured and analyzed using 2 × 2 factorial analyses. Convict cichlids caused reduced growth and eliminated recruitment of springfish under the experimental conditions. Cover did not influence growth but positively affected recruitment of springfish in allopatry. It is likely that a portion of the reduced springfish population densities in nature can be attributed to adverse effects from introduced cichlids.