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Benefits of a predator induced morphology in crucian carp

  • Anders Nilsson
  • Christer Brönmark
  • Lars Pettersson
Publishing year: 1995
Language: English
Pages: 291-296
Publication/Series: Oecologia
Volume: 104
Issue: 3
Document type: Journal article
Publisher: Springer

Abstract english

Crucian carp (Carassius carassius) develop a

deeper body in response to chemical cues from piscivores.

This change in body morphology has been suggested

to be a predator-induced defence. Here we investigate the

possible benefits of the induced body morphology in laboratory

experiments. Pike foraging behaviour when feeding

on crucian carp of different body depths was recorded

using video. Further, in a preference experiment pike

were allowed to choose between shallow-bodied and

deep-bodied crucian carp of similar lengths. Crucian

carp body morphology did not affect predatory behaviours

(activity, searching, following, observing, capture

success) in northern pike, but an increase in crucian carp

body depth led to an increase in handling time in pike. In

the preference experiment, pike preferred shallow-bodied

crucian carp over deep-bodied. Thus, a change in body

morphology, induced by the presence of piscivores, benefits

crucian carp by increasing piscivore handling times

and an avoidance of the deep-bodied phenotype.


  • Ecology
  • Predator-prey interactions
  • Induced defence
  • Phenotypic plasticity - Body depth. Carassius carassius


  • ISSN: 1432-1939
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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