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Growth in length and in body depth in young‐of‐the‐year perch with different predation risk

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Body shape of young‐of‐the‐year (YOY) perch Perca fluviatilis, and number and size of potential predators (perch and pike Esox lucius) were compared across five lakes in northern Sweden. Body depth and dorsal fin ray length of YOY perch differed between lakes, with high relative body depth and long dorsal fin rays found in the lakes where the number of large piscivores was the highest. The most slender fish were found in the lake where the perch population had the smallest individuals and pike occurred in very low numbers. The average body mass in YOY perch from the two lakes with highest and lowest body depth, respectively, were the same, which indicates a difference between lakes in the relation between growth in length and in depth. Both body depth and fin ray length were correlated with predation risk by pike. Fin ray length was also correlated with number of piscivorous perch. Selection for different body shapes can be caused by different biotic and abiotic factors, singly or in combination, and the results from this study indicates that predation risk is one of these factors affecting body depth and fin ray length in perch.

Keywords: Perca fluviatilis; body shape; fin ray; predator density; predator size

Document Type: Regular Paper

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1095-8649.2004.00325.x

Affiliations: Department of Aquaculture, Swedish University of Agriculture, S-901 83 UmeƄ, Sweden

Publication date: March 1, 2004

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