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Site fidelity and seasonal changes in activity centre size of female pike Esox lucius in a small lake

Authors

  • A. Kobler,

    Corresponding author
    1. * Leibniz-Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries, Department of Biology and Ecology of Fishes, Müggelseedamm 310, 12587 Berlin, Germany and Humboldt-University of Berlin, Faculty of Agriculture and Horticulture, Institute of Animal Sciences, Philippstrasse 13, Haus 7, 10115 Berlin, Germany
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  • T. Klefoth,

    1. * Leibniz-Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries, Department of Biology and Ecology of Fishes, Müggelseedamm 310, 12587 Berlin, Germany and Humboldt-University of Berlin, Faculty of Agriculture and Horticulture, Institute of Animal Sciences, Philippstrasse 13, Haus 7, 10115 Berlin, Germany
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  • R. Arlinghaus

    1. * Leibniz-Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries, Department of Biology and Ecology of Fishes, Müggelseedamm 310, 12587 Berlin, Germany and Humboldt-University of Berlin, Faculty of Agriculture and Horticulture, Institute of Animal Sciences, Philippstrasse 13, Haus 7, 10115 Berlin, Germany
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†Author to whom correspondence should be addressed at present address: University of Antwerp, Department of Biology–Ethology, CDE, Universiteitsplein 1, 2610 Antwerp (Wilrijk), Belgium. Tel.: +32 38202286; fax: +32 38202271; email: alexander.kobler@ua.ac.be

Abstract

The object of this study was to test site fidelity of female pike Esox lucius and to contrast the activity centre size in summer and winter in a 25 ha lake in north-eastern Germany using radio telemetry. Weekly 24 h tracking and two 96 h tracking exercises were conducted by boat from June to December 2005 and by walking on surface ice from January to February 2006. Positions of 12 E. lucius [total length (LT) = 450–733 mm] were recorded every 3 h within a 24 h tracking cycle. Site fidelity to individual summer activity centres was tested by translocating eight E. lucius away from their activity centre. All translocated E. lucius returned to their summer activity centre within 6 days, which provided evidence of site fidelity of E. lucius. There was no relation between E. luciusLT or the translocation distance and return time to the activity centre after translocation. In winter, the activity centre size of E. lucius was significantly larger than in summer, but there was considerable overlap between the sites chosen in winter and those in summer. The seasonal variation in activity centre size possibly reflected changes in habitat structure (e.g. collapse of structured vegetated habitats in winter) or prey fish distribution.

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