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Avoid your neighbours: size-determined spatial distribution patterns among northern pike individuals

  • Anders Nilsson
Publishing year: 2006
Language: English
Pages: 251-258
Publication/Series: Oikos
Volume: 113
Issue: 2
Document type: Journal article
Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell

Abstract english

The spatial distribution of individual animals may both cause and be caused by intra- and/or interspecific interactions. This work aims primarily on effects of intraspecific interactions. Agonistic and unequally strong interactions among conspecifics should make the within-population distribution of individuals to be characterised by spatial avoidance of potentially risky conspecifics, according to the individual risks perceived. This process should affect individual performance and involve individual tradeoffs, as failing to adequately avoid risky conspecifics could incur unnecessary costs, while, at the same time, successful conspecific avoidance may reduce access to patches favourable for e.g. foraging or sheltering. Intraspecific agonistic behaviours, such as cannibalism and competition, are likely to have prominent effects in size-structured populations. It is therefore reasonable to assume spatial avoidance of intraspecific risks according to individuals' size relationships in such populations. With this field investigation I show that individuals of northern pike spatially avoid larger conspecifics. This avoidance creates a size-influenced and spatially clumped distribution pattern among pike individuals. At low pike densities, however, distances between individuals increase, allowing for an even distribution pattern to appear. The spatial distribution patterns among piscivore individuals should affect both the individual performance of predators and the potential for spatial antipredatory responses of their prey, and hence be a factor in consumer-resource interactions.


  • Ecology


  • ISSN: 1600-0706
Anders Nilsson
E-mail: anders [dot] nilsson [at] biol [dot] lu [dot] se


Aquatic ecology

+46 46 222 83 65

+46 70 346 25 66



Research group

Aquatic Ecology


Doctoral students and postdocs

Main supervisor

Varpu Pärssinen

Assistant supervisor

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