Competition, predation, cannibalism: the development of young-of-the-year perch populations in ponds with bream or roach

Authors

  • L. Heermann,

    Corresponding author
    • General Ecology and Limnology, Zoological Institute, University of Cologne, Research Station Grietherbusch, Rees-Grietherbusch, Germany
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  • J. Borcherding

    1. General Ecology and Limnology, Zoological Institute, University of Cologne, Research Station Grietherbusch, Rees-Grietherbusch, Germany
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Author's address: Lisa Heermann, University of Cologne, Zoological Institute, General Ecology and Limnology, Research Station Grietherbusch, D-46459 Rees-Grietherbusch, Germany.

E-mail: lisa.heermann@uni-koeln.de

Summary

Piscivory of perch can occur within a few weeks after perch hatch, leading to the development of two size-cohorts, with the larger perch becoming cannibals. However, the possibility of early piscivory is assumed to depend on the hatch timing of the prey and predator. Two species, bream (2006) and roach (2007), were tested as the prey fish. The bream (hatching 12 days after perch) were preyed upon by the perch, leading to the predicted development of two sizes of cohorts as well as to cannibalism. With roach (hatching simultaneously with perch), however, no piscivory or cannibalism occurred and the perch population was unimodally distributed. The results of this experimental pond study underpin recent theoretical findings that size differences between predator and prey, determined through differences in the timing of hatching as well as differences in juvenile growth rates, foster the occurrence of early piscivory in YOY perch that may lead to bimodality and finally to intra-cohort cannibalism.

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