Original paper

Habitat segregation between two congeneric and introduced goby species

Guo, Zhiqiang; Liu, Jiashou; Lek, Sovan; Li, Zhongjie; Ye, Shaowen; Zhu, Fengyue; Tang, Jianfeng; Cucherousset, Julien


Spatial segregation is one of the most important mechanisms that facilitates coexistence among competing species. Large populations of two introduced and congeneric goby species (Rhinogobius giurinus and Rhinogobius cliffordpopei) now co-occur in Lake Erhai, a plateau lake in the Yunnan-Guizhou Plateau (China). Herein we quantified the spatio-temporal distribution of the two species to determine whether spatial segregation occurred within the same ecosystem. A total of 67,819 individuals of R. giurinus and 36,043 of R. cliffordpopei were sampled across four seasons. The results indicated that R. giurinus mostly occupied profundal habitat (PH) while R. cliffordpopei mainly used littoral habitat (LH). Correlation analysis revealed the abundance of R. giurinus was positively associated with deep water, silt and coarse sand substrata, whereas the distribution of R. cliffordpopei was positively associated with high densities of macrozooplanktons and high abundances of other fish species, high concentration of dissolved oxygen and high densities of submerged macrophytes. Except in spring, the body condition of R. giurinus was significantly higher in the PH than in the LH. The body condition of R. cliffordpopei did not differ significantly between habitats in the four seasons. These findings demonstrate that the two congeneric and introduced goby species occupy distinct habitats, indicating that spatial segregation enables coexistence of the two invasive species at high abundances within an ecosystem.


habitat segregationbiological invasionsbody conditionecological niche