Great Basin Naturalist


The spawning of Lahontan cutthroat trout (Oncorhynchus clarki henshawi) in Summit Lake, Nevada, has reportedly declined since the early 1970s, coincident with the appearance of Lahontan redside shiner (Richardsonius egregius) in the lake. We investigated the relative predatory abilities of the 2 fish species foraging on live Daphnia magna in turbidity conditions commonly observed in Summit Lake. Experiments were performed under controlled light and temperature condition. In separate trials we fed trout and shiner 1 of 3 size classes of D. magna (1.7 mm, 2.2 mm, and 3.0 mm) at 6 levels of turbidity ranging from 3.5 to 25 NTU. Feeding rates for both species varied inversely with turbidity for all prey sizes. Feeding rates of shiner were greater than trout at all turbidity levels. In low turbidity (5 TNU), shiner consumed approximately 3% more prey during 2-h feeding trials. However, at high turbidity levels, the difference in feeding rates between species was proportionally higher (10%). At high turbidity levels (≥ 20 NTU) trout predation rates were relatively insensitive to prey size. However, shiner continued to consume more, larger prey at the highest turbidity levels. These results indicate that Lahontan redside shiner may be superior to Lahontan cutthroat trout as zooplankton predators at high turbidity levels, and may explain the recent success of shiner in Summit Lake.