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Ontogeny of antipredator performance in hatchery‐reared Japanese anchovy Engraulis japonicus larvae exposed to visual or tactile predators in relation to turbidity

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Laboratory experiments revealed distinct effects of turbidity on the survival of Japanese anchovy Engraulis japonicus larvae when exposed to either visual (jack mackerel Trachurus japonicus) or tactile (moon jellyfish Aurelia aurita) predators. The experiments were conducted in 30 l tanks with three levels of turbidity obtained by dissolving 0, 50 or 300 mg l−1 of kaolin. Predators were introduced to experimental tanks followed by larvae of E. japonicus ranging from 5 to 25 mm standard lengths (L s). When exposed to T. japonicus, the mean survival rate of larvae was significantly higher in 300 mg l−1 treatments compared to the other turbidity levels. When exposed to A. aurita, however, there was no difference in the survival rates among different turbidity treatments. The survival rates when exposed to either predator improved with larval growth. The logistic survivorship models for E. japonicus larvae when exposed to A. aurita had an inflection point at c. 12 mm L s, suggesting that their size refuge from A. aurita is close to this value. Comparison to a previous study suggests a high vulnerability of shirasu (long and transparent) fish larvae to jellyfish predation under turbidity. This study indicates that anthropogenic increases of turbidity in coastal waters may increase the relative effect of jellyfish predation on fish larvae.
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Document Type: Regular Paper

Publication date: December 1, 2011

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