Natural history of Cathorops tuyra
The semi-anadromous sea catfish species Cathorops tuyra (Ariidae, Besudo sea catfish) from the Tropical Eastern Pacific has been found reproductively active in the freshwater rivers and lakes of the Panama Canal. Despite growing concerns for biodiversity, reports on natural history are lacking for many Neotropical sea catfishes. We aimed to provide data on the diet and seasonal timing of spawning of C. tuyra for an autochthonous, semi-anadromous, brackish water population from Rio Santa Maria and an allochthonous freshwater non-migrating population from Rio Chagres, an affluent to the Panama Canal, to understand how changing from semi-anadromous to residential lifestyle affects the natural history of a species. Fish from both sampling sites were dissected and information on stomach content, size, weight, parasitic load, sex, maturity, and number of eggs were recorded. In Rio Chagres, there was a female bias and individuals were larger and in pre-spawning mode compared to Rio Santa Maria. Parasite prevalence was low in Rio Chagres and zero in Rio Santa Maria. The diets were very similar between populations: gastropods, bivalves, and insects were the most important prey items in both rivers representing a diverse omnivorous diet that is similar to that of other catfishes.