, Volume 78, Issue 3, pp 361–367 | Cite as

The ecological role of chemical stimuli for the zooplankton: predator-induced morphology in Daphnia

  • Stanley I. Dodson
Original Papers


Numerous adaptive predator-induced responses occurred when eight clones representing seven Daphnia (Crustacea: Cladocera) species were tested against three common predators: fourth instar larval phantom midge Chaoborus americanus, adult backswimmer Notonecta undulata, and small sunfish Lepomis macrochirus. The predators were confined within small mesh bags, suggesting that the signal for induction is chemical. The induced responses included longer tail spines, longer heads, smaller bodies, increased egg clutches, and decreased lipid reserves. Each Daphnia species responded to each of the three predators in a unique manner. Induced responses in the above characters showed no significant association. The induced morphological changes are generally consistent with current theories of what is an adaptive response for the various sizes of Daphnia exposed to tactile and visual predators. The abundance of induced responses in these experiments suggests that predator-induced responses are a widespread and ecologically important phenomenon of the freshwater zooplankton.

Key words

Chaoborus Daphnia Lepomis Notonecta Predator-induction 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stanley I. Dodson
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of ZoologyUniversity of WisconsinMadisonUSA

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