Suppression of Largemouth Bass Production by Blue Tilapia in Ponds

Suppression of largemouth bass (Micropterus salmoides floridanus) fingerling production in 0.01 ha ponds with high blue tilapia (Tilapia aurea) densities (760-1,900 kg/ha; 1,300-2,500 fish/ha) was studied to determine if the suppression is caused by direct competition for spawning sites. Bass spawned successfully in 8 of 9 ponds with tilapia but mean (x = 340) production of bass fingerlings was 84% less than in ponds without tilapia (x = 2183; N = 3). Difference in young-of-year bass production between ponds with and without tilapia was statistically significant; however, differences between young-of-year bass production in ponds with only male and only female tilapia were non-significant (P ≥ 0.05). Since only male blue tilapia construct spawning depressions, reduced bass fingerling production was attributed primarily to interactions independent of direct competition for spawning sites or tilapia sex.

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