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The influence of selection for vulnerability to angling on foraging ecology in largemouth bass Micropterus salmoides


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Several traits related to foraging behaviour were assessed in young-of-the-year produced from largemouth bass Micropterus salmoides that had been exposed to four generations of artificial selection for vulnerability to angling. As recreational angling may target foraging ability, this study tested the hypothesis that selection for vulnerability to angling would affect behaviours associated with foraging ecology and prey capture success. Fish selected for low vulnerability to angling captured more prey and attempted more captures than high vulnerability fish. The higher capture attempts, however, ultimately resulted in a lower capture success for low vulnerability fish. Low vulnerability fish also had higher prey rejection rates, marginally shorter reactive distance and were more efficient at converting prey consumed into growth than their high vulnerability counterparts. Selection due to recreational fishing has the potential to affect many aspects of the foraging ecology of the targeted population and highlights the importance of understanding evolutionary effects and how these need to be considered when managing populations.