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Keywords:

  • food limitation;
  • invasive fish;
  • non-kin intercohort cannibalism;
  • rainbow trout

In this study, cannibalistic and predatory responses of juvenile Neogobius melanostomus (either fed or deprived of food and caught during the reproductive summer or non-reproductive winter season) to water washings of fertilized eggs from conspecifics (N. melanostomus), heterospecifics (rainbow trout Oncorhynchus mykiss) and control lake water were tested. Fed juveniles (summer season) spent significantly more time on the side of the flume containing stimuli from conspecific eggs over control water, while significantly preferring control water to heterospecific stimuli. In addition, fish showed a significant preference towards stimuli from conspecific eggs over heterospecific stimuli by associating near conspecific egg odours 1·5 times longer [Correction added after online publication 28 April 2011, text changed]. Fish that were deprived of food, regardless of whether caught during the summer or winter season, did not show any preference towards either conspecific or heterospecific stimuli. These findings show that conspecific egg odours attract fed juveniles and that there is a potential to lure fish to odour traps as a means of control.