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Benefits of a Predator-Induced Morphology in Crucian Carp

P. Anders Nilsson, Christer Brönmark and Lars B. Pettersson
Oecologia
Vol. 104, No. 3 (1995), pp. 291-296
Published by: Springer in cooperation with International Association for Ecology
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4221109
Page Count: 6
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Benefits of a Predator-Induced Morphology in Crucian Carp
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Abstract

Crucian carp (Carassius carassius) develop a deeper body in response to chemical cues from piscivores. This change in body morphology has been suggested to be a predator-induced defence. Here we investigate the possible benefits of the induced body morphology in laboratory experiments. Pike foraging behaviour when feeding on crucian carp of different body depths was recorded using video. Further, in a preference experiment pike were allowed to choose between shallow-bodied and deep-bodied crucian carp of similar lengths. Crucian carp body morphology did not affect predatory behaviours (activity, searching, following, observing, capture success) in northern pike, but an increase in crucian carp body depth led to an increase in handling time in pike. In the preference experiment, pike preferred shallow-bodied crucian carp over deep-bodied. Thus, a change in body morphology, induced by the presence of piscivores, benefits crucian carp by increasing piscivore handling times and an avoidance of the deep-bodied phenotype.

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