Extreme habitats are characterized by the presence of physio-chemical stressors, but also differ in aspects of the biotic environment, such as resource availability or the presence of competitors. The present study quantifies variation in trophic ecology of a small livebearing fish (Poecilia mexicana, Poeciliidae) across four different habitats that included nonsulphidic and sulphidic surface waters, as well as a nonsulphidic and a sulphidic cave. esource use in different habitat types was investigated using gut content analysis. Populations diverged in resource use from a diet dominated by algae and detritus in nonsulfidic surface habitats to a diet including invertebrate food items in the other habitats. Poecilia mexicana in cave habitats further exhibited a higher dietary niche width than conspecifics from surface habitats. The condition of P. mexicana was analysed using storage lipid extractions. Fish from sulphidic and cave habitats exhibited a very poor condition,
suggesting resource limitation and/or high costs of coping with extreme conditions. Finally, divergence in resource use was correlated with variation in viscerocranial morphology. A common garden experiment indicated both a genetic and plastic basis to the morphological
variation observed among field populations. It is suggested that the morphological diversification is an adaptation to the differential use of resources among populations.