, Volume 500, Issue 1, pp 83–94

Impact of fish predation on coexisting Daphnia taxa: a partial test of the temporal hybrid superiority hypothesis


  • Steven Declerck
    • Laboratory of Animal EcologyState University of Gent
  • Luc De Meester
    • Laboratory of Aquatic Ecology, KU Leuven

DOI: 10.1023/A:1024656602248

Cite this article as:
Declerck, S. & Meester, L.D. Hydrobiologia (2003) 500: 83. doi:10.1023/A:1024656602248


Fish predation was tested as a factor mediating the coexistence of Daphnia taxa in the shallow, hypertrophic Lake Blankaart. Naturally co-occurring populations of D. galeata and the hybrid D. galeata x cucullata were subjected to different levels of fish predation in in situ enclosures. In control enclosures without fish, the largest taxon D. galeata rapidly became dominant over the intermediate sized D. galeata x cucullata, mainly as a result of higher birth rates. In enclosures with fish, population densities of D. galeata dropped relative to D. galeata x cucullata, due to higher mortality rates. These results are in concordance with the `temporal hybrid superiority hypothesis', and can be explained by a higher vulnerability of the large and more conspicuous D. galeata to the size selective predation exerted by visually hunting planktivorous fishes. After approximately one month, however, population growth rates of D. galeata and D. galeata x cucullata in the enclosures with fish converged, due to a relative reduction in the mortality rate of D. galeata. This suggests that, in the presence of fish, D. galeata may co-exist with hybrids due to a decrease in its relative vulnerability to visual predation with time. Indeed, both D. galeata and the hybrid showed strong reductions in adult body size in the enclosures with fish, but this size reduction tended to be stronger in D. galeata than in D. galeata x cucullata. In addition, turbidity increased in the enclosures with fish and may additionally have reduced the relative advantage of D. galeata x cucullata with regard to mortality caused by visual predation.

Daphniatemporal hybrid superiority hypothesisfish predationco-existence

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© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2003