, Volume 451, Issue 1, pp 27-44

First online:

Interactions of pelagic cnidarians and ctenophores with fish: a review

  • Jennifer E. PurcellAffiliated withHorn Point Laboratory, University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science
  • , Mary N. AraiAffiliated withPacific Biological StationDepartment of Biological Sciences, University of Calgary

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Medusae, siphonophores and ctenophores (here grouped as `pelagic coelenterates') interact with fish in several ways. Some interactions are detrimental to fish populations, such as predation by gelatinous species on pelagic eggs and larvae of fish, the potential competition for prey among pelagic coelenterates and fish larvae and zooplanktivorous fish species, and pelagic coelenterates serving as intermediate hosts for fish parasites. Other interactions are positive for fish, such as predation by fish on gelatinous species and commensal associations among fish and pelagic coelenterates. The interactions range from beneficial for the gelatinous species (food, parasite removal), to negative (predation on them). We review existing information and present new data on these topics. Although such interactions have been documented frequently, the significance to either fish or pelagic coelenterate populations is poorly understood. The effects of pelagic coelenterates on fish populations are of particular interest because of the great importance of fisheries to the global economy. As fishing pressures mount, it becomes increasingly important to understand how they may influence the balance between pelagic coelenterates and fish.

ichthyoplankton predation zooplankton competition parasite commensalism