01 August 2023

Musil and colleagues 2023

Scientific Reports

Musil M, Let M, Roje S, Drozd B, Kouba A. 2023. Feeding in predator naïve crayfish is influenced by cues from a fish predator. Scientific Reports 13: 12265. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-023-39406-w


In this study, we experimentally evaluated how the feeding behaviour of marbled crayfish Procambarus virginalis is influenced by cues from conspecifics and the round goby Neogobius melanostomus, a fish predator, in tanks that permitted chemical communication but not visual recognition. We used four experimental groups with different combinations in two sub-tanks. The first sub-tank always contained a crayfish and prey (40 individuals of the water louse Asellus aquaticus). The other sub-tanks were set up as follows: (i) empty, serving as a control (C); (ii) with a conspecific crayfish (Cr); (iii) with a round goby (G) to simulate predator-only odour; and (iv) a round goby and three small conspecific crayfish (G + Cr) to simulate the presence of a predator and/or the alarm odour. Two sub-treatments were defined for the fourth group, categorised as ‘injured’ or ‘not injured’ depending on whether prey crayfish were visibly injured or not, respectively. We observed a significant decline in the consumption of water lice in the G and G + Cr treatments compared to the C and Cr treatments (up to 47% on average). There were no significant differences in consumption between the G and G + Cr treatments, or C and Cr treatments. No significant differences in food consumption parameters were detected between sub-treatments with ‘injured’ and ‘not injured’ conspecific crayfish. Knowledge of modifications in the feeding behaviour of marbled crayfish in the presence of round goby (and fish predators in general) is essential for ecologists attempting to understand the changes and impacts occurring in invaded freshwater ecosystems.


Keywords: None provided.

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