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Prey or predator: 0+ perch (Perca fluviatilis) in the trade-off between food and shelter

Authors
  • Borcherding, Jost1
  • 1 Zoological Institute of the University of Cologne, Department of General Ecology & Limnology, Ecological Field Station Grietherbusch, Köln, D-50923, Germany , Köln (Germany)
Type
Published Article
Journal
Environmental Biology of Fishes
Publisher
Springer-Verlag
Publication Date
Jul 05, 2006
Volume
77
Issue
1
Pages
87–96
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1007/s10641-006-9057-9
Source
Springer Nature
Keywords
License
Yellow

Abstract

The 0+ cohort of perch can split into a slow-growing planktivorous and a fast-growing piscivorous cohort during their first months of life. Both cohorts are, however, vulnerable to predation by piscivorous fish. Laboratory experiments were performed to test the behavior of 0+ perch as a predator of cyprinids, and in the trade-off between food and shelter from the threat of predators. In the foraging trials, 0+ perch attacked bream faster than they did carp, and vegetation hampered the aggression against bream. In the second experiment, the habitat selection of two size classes of 0+ perch under the threat of predation was monitored. Overall, vegetation structures were preferred by both size classes of 0+ perch. When small fish were offered to the 0+ perch as food, the open water becomes more attractive. The results of the habitat use trials further show that the two size cohorts of 0+ perch may also differ in their behavior, in that the availability of fish as food becomes more important than the shelter of vegetation structures for the larger perch.

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