, Volume 75, Issue 3, pp 321-326

Fish predation in size-structured populations of treefrog tadpoles

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The effects of tadpole body size, tadpole sibship, and fish body size on predation of gray treefrog tadpoles, Hyla chrysoscelis, were studied in laboratory and artificial pond experiments. Tadpole body size had a significantly positive effect on the survival of tadpoles in all experiments. The relationship between tadpole biomass eaten and biomass available suggested that fish were not satiated when consuming the largest tadpoles. Large tadpoles were probably better able to evade predators. A difference in survival among full sib families of tadpoles was only present in one family, suggesting that genetic differences in predator avoidance behavior or palatability were probably secondarily important to body size per se. Fish body size had a significantly negative effect on the survival of tadpoles. Larger fish consumed a larger number and proportion of tadpoles as well as greater biomass. These results indicate that environmental factors affecting the growth rate of tadpoles cand dramatically alter their vulnerability to gape-limited predators.