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Fisheries Behavioral Ecology - Abstracts

Sogard, S.M. and B.L. Olla. 1994. The potential for intracohort cannibalism in age-0 walleye pollock, Theragra chalcogramma, as determined under laboratory conditions. Environmental Biology of Fishes 39:183-190.


In laboratory experiments, we tested the capability of larger age-0 walleye pollock to consume smaller members of their cohort. In separate aquaria, 81 pairs of juveniles covering a wide range of size differences (total lengths differing by 12 to 61 mm) were held and monitored over a 4 day period. Complete consumption, in which a smaller fish was swallowed whole by a larger fish, occurred 11% of the time. In 36% of the pairs, attacks by the larger fish resulted in mortality of the smaller fish. The mouth width:body depth ratio between the larger and smaller fish of a pair differed significantly depending on whether the smaller fish survived, was killed but not consumed, or was ingested whole by the larger fish. Cannibalistic individuals could consume fish close to the maximum size physically possible under gape limitation; at this size the length of the cannibal was approximately 1.7 times the length of the prey. Length-frequency distributions of age-0 pollock in field concentrations suggested that, at least in some geographical areas, potential cannibals and prey commonly co-occur. Unsuccessful predatory attacks by larger individuals may have additional detrimental effects on smaller pollock in natural populations.


Last updated 31 March, 2009

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