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Size‐dependent prey selection in piscivorous pikeperch Sander lucioperca and Volga pikeperch Sander volgensis shaped by bimodal prey size distribution

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Prey size and species selection of pikeperch Sander lucioperca and Volga pikeperch Sander volgensis were investigated in relation to predator size in the shallow Lake Balaton, Hungary. Although their gape sizes were similar, S. lucioperca shifted to piscivory earlier and consumed fewer, but larger, prey than S. volgensis. Prey species preference of the two piscivores also differed. A bimodal prey size distribution resulted in a reclining sigmoid curve for the life span predator size to prey size relationship with inflexion points between 266 and 284 mm predator standard length (L S) in S. lucioperca. In S. volgensis, as well as in S. lucioperca L S≤ 350 mm, prey size increased monotonically with predator L S, following a power trend for all prey size variables. Prey depth to predator L S relationship varied significantly with prey species and prey number in both piscivores, and prey depth tended to be smaller in predators consuming more than one prey. Both predator species characteristically selected less active, benthic prey fishes in spite of their spiny fin rays, and small‐ and mid‐sized predators selected for small prey. Relatively large prey were also eaten, however, especially by the smallest and largest S. lucioperca.
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Document Type: Regular Paper

Publication date: 2011-12-01

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