Guppy populations differ in cannibalistic degree and adaptation to structural environments
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- Nilsson, K.A., Lundbäck, S., Postavnicheva-Harri, A. et al. Oecologia (2011) 167: 391. doi:10.1007/s00442-011-1990-4
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There is considerable variation in cannibalism between different species and also between individuals of different species, although relatively little is known about what creates this variation. We investigated the degree of cannibalism in guppy (Poecilia reticulata) populations originating from high and low predation environments in Trinidad, and also how cannibalism was affected by the presence of refuges. Females from two populations were allowed to feed on juveniles from two populations in aquaria trials. The cannibalism was size-dependent and varied depending on both juvenile and female origin. Low predation females were more efficient cannibals and low predation juveniles were better at avoiding cannibalism compared to high predation guppies when no refuges were present. The high predation females were superior cannibals and the high predation juveniles were better at escaping cannibalism than the low predation guppies when refuges were present. We discuss whether the differences in cannibalism and response to refuge addition relate to predation-induced habitat shifts and differences in the guppies’ natural environment.