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Squeezing out the last egg—annual fish increase reproductive efforts in response to a predation threat

Tijdschriftbijdrage - Tijdschriftartikel

Both constitutive and inducible antipredator strategies are ubiquitous in nature and serve to maximize fitness under a predation threat. Inducible strategies may be favored over constitutive defenses depending on their relative cost and benefit and temporal variability in predator presence. In African temporary ponds, annual killifish of the genus Nothobranchius are variably exposed to predators, depending on whether larger fish invade their habitat from nearby rivers during floods. Nonetheless, potential plastic responses to predation risk are poorly known. Here, we studied whether Nothobranchius furzeri individuals adjust their life history in response to a predation threat. For this, we monitored key life history traits in response to cues that signal the presence of predatory pumpkinseed sunfish (Lepomis gibbosus). While growth rate, adult body size, age at maturation, and initial fecundity were not affected, peak and total fecundity were higher in the predation risk treatment. This contrasts with known life history strategies of killifish from permanent waters, which tend to reduce reproduction in the presence of predators. Although our results show that N. furzeri individuals are able to detect predators and respond to their presence by modulating their reproductive output, these responses only become evident after a few clutches have been deposited. Overall our findings suggest that, in the presence of a predation risk, it can be beneficial to increase the production of life stages that can persist until the predation risk has faded.
Tijdschrift: Ecology and Evolution
ISSN: 2045-7758
Issue: 13
Volume: 8
Pagina's: 6390 - 6398
Jaar van publicatie:2018
BOF-publication weight:1
CSS-citation score:2
Authors from:Higher Education