The ontogeny of antipredator behaviour in paradise fish larvae III. Size-related avoidance of predator models

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Abstract

A series of laboratory experiments examined the effect of the size of predator models on the behaviour of larval paradise fish Macropodus opercularis L, of different age (15 and 20 days old). In a small runway, individually tested larval paradise fish could approach a model predator of different size, with or without eyespots. The duration of approach, the number of fleeings and backings were measured. Fifteen-day-old larvae showed similar moderate level avoidance to all models but fled more in the presence of larger models. The approach behaviour in 20-day-old larvae depended on the size of the model but only if it had eyespots, and larvae fled and backed more with increasing size of the model. However, manipulation of larval length within age category had no effect on predator avoidance. Since the recognition of the two eyespots seems to be age dependent, it is hypothesized that only larvae older than 20 days will behave in a 'threat-sensitive' manner in the presence of predator models by avoiding larger ones.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)328-337
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Fish Biology
Volume54
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - febr. 1 1999

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ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Aquatic Science

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