, Volume 133, Issue 1, pp 39–44 | Cite as

Chaoborus predation and the function of phenotypic variation in Daphnia

  • Mona A. Mort


To investigate the role of helmet formation in defense against predation, laboratory experiments were used to analyze the effects of morphological changes in Daphnia on susceptibility to Chaoborus predation. Behavioral observations of Chaoborus preying on helmeted and non-helmeted Daphnia suggest pre-contact advantages for helmeted prey but post-contact advantages for non-helmeted prey. Helmeted Daphnia are better at evading capture by Chaoborus but may also be more easily handled by the predator. Swimming behavior of the prey, which is influenced by the presence of a tailspine, may affect Chaoborus strike distance. These results re-emphasize the potential hydromechanical importance of body shape changes in defense against predation.


Daphnia Chaoborus predation cyclomorphosis body-shape changes swimming behavior 


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Copyright information

© Dr W. Junk Publishers 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mona A. Mort
    • 1
  1. 1.Division of Biological SciencesUniversity of MichiganAnn ArborUSA

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