Ontogenetic constraints and diet shifts in Perch (Perca fluviatilis): mechanisms and consequences for intra-cohort cannibalism
2012 (English)In: Freshwater Biology, ISSN 0046-5070, E-ISSN 1365-2427, Vol. 57, no 4, 847-857 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
1. In many populations, sufficient size variation to allow for cannibalism may develop not only among age cohorts but also within them. Here, we used data on resource dynamics, consumer body size distribution and gape size limitation to unravel mechanisms promoting cannibalism within cohorts of young-of-the-year (YOY) perch (Perca fluviatilis). 2. Perch are strongly gape limited when feeding on large zooplankton during early ontogeny. As a consequence, only initially large fish were able to shift to feeding on abundant large invertebrates, necessary to sustain fast growth. 3. We suggest that a combination of high initial size variation and exclusive access to resources for individuals with an initial size advantage is a prerequisite for the development of a size distribution sufficient for intra-cohort cannibalism to occur. 4. During the time when cannibalism was observed, growth of the largest individuals in YOY perch cohorts was faster than that of smaller individuals. However, the energy gain from cannibalism did not increase growth rate enough to reach a size necessary to feed on more abundant size classes of victims, and therefore, the effect of cannibalism on overall cohort density was minor. 5. In addition to a high energy gain from cannibalism allowing for fast growth, strong resource limitation and slow growth rates of small individuals (i.e. potential victims) are a prerequisite not only for the development of intra-cohort cannibalism but also for its persistence.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2012. Vol. 57, no 4, 847-857 p.
cannibalism, diet shifts, fish, size variation, zooplankton
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-55353DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2427.2012.02752.xISI: 000301227000019OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-55353DiVA: diva2:529886