Title

Apparent size choice of zooplankton: exceptions to the rule

Document Type

Article

Journal/Book Title/Conference

Environmental Biology of Fishes

Volume

13

Publication Date

1985

Keywords

zooplankton

First Page

225

Last Page

233

Abstract

Choice of the apparently largest prey has been implicated as an important component of the size choice behavior of several planktivorous fish species. In this study we describe the effect of several aspects of prey placement, apparent and absolute size, and motion on the choice behavior of bluegill or white crappie. In binary choice experiments, bluegill usually choose Daphnia prey on the basis of apparent size. However, when both prey were close to the fish and the absolutely larger prey was apparently smaller, the fish commonly chose the absolutely larger. The horizontal placement of two prey also altered choice such that the more forward directed prey was chosen even when apparently smaller. White crappie, when offered a choice between a diaptomid copepod or daphnid prey, chose the daphnid most of the time. Bluegill sunfish offered moving versus non-moving heat-killed daphnids commonly chose the one in motion. Apparent size choice is still a good overall describer of bluegill and white crappie prey choice, but it is not the only mechanism involved in prey choice behavior of these fish.

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