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Feeding while Evading Predators by a Lotic Mayfly: Linking Short-Term Foraging Behaviours to Long-Term Fitness Consequences

Garry J. Scrimgeour and Joseph M. Culp
Oecologia
Vol. 100, No. 1/2 (1994), pp. 128-134
Published by: Springer in cooperation with International Association for Ecology
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4220793
Page Count: 7
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Feeding while Evading Predators by a Lotic Mayfly: Linking Short-Term Foraging Behaviours to Long-Term Fitness Consequences
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Abstract

Laboratory experiments were performed to quantify the combined effects of food abundance (low, high) and predation threat, imposed using a model fish (safe, risky) on fitness correlates (i.e. growth, time to emergence, adult body mass, fecundity, egg size) of the mayfly Baetis tricaudatus. These effects were determined by rearing larvae under different combinations of food abundance and predator threat. Fitness correlates were significantly affected by food abundance, predation threat or the interaction of these factors. High food abundance and the absence of predation threat significantly increased larval growth rates, adult body mass, fecundity, egg size, and decreased time to emergence. Long-term effects of predator threat and food abundance on fitness correlates of B. tricaudatus were compared to previously conducted short-term patch choice trials to test for concordance between short-term measures of patch choice and their potential longer-term fitness consequences. This comparison indicated that patches that were utilized the most were those that yielded the highest fitness benefits. These results suggest that behavioural costs of balancing mortality risk due to predation against food acquisition by B. tricaudatus can have strong fitness consequences.

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