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Pike predators induce morphological changes in young perch and roach

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The morphological response of two 1 year-old prey species, perch Perca fluviatilis and roach Rutilus rutilus to the presence of predatory pike Esox lucius, was tested in a 6 week aquarium experiment. The growth of perch was higher than that of roach but there was no difference in growth of prey between predator and control treatments. The presence of pike caused morphological changes in both perch and roach. Perch showed an increase in body depth during the experiment whereas the morphological response of roach to pike was more related to a displacement of the dorsal and pelvic fins and width of the anal fin. Differences in morphological responses of perch and roach to pike can be interpreted by their overall differences in antipredator strategies.
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Keywords: Esox; Perca; Rutilus; chemical cues; phenotypic plasticity; predation

Document Type: Regular Paper

Affiliations: Department of Ecology and Evolution/Limnology, Evolutionary Biology Centre, Uppsala University, Norbyvägen 20, SE-75236 Uppsala, Sweden

Publication date: 2007-01-01

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