Marine Biology

, Volume 150, Issue 4, pp 599–607

Calanoid copepod escape behavior in response to a visual predator

Research Article


Calanoid copepods typically exhibit escape reactions to hydrodynamic stimuli such as those generated by the approach of a predator. During the summers of 2000, 2001 and 2004, two small calanoid species, Temora turbinata Dana, 1849 and Paracalanus parvus Claus, 1863 were exposed to a visual predatory fish, the blenny Acanthemblemaria spinosa Metzelaar, 1919, and their predator–prey interactions were recorded using both high-speed and standard videographic techniques. Copepod escape reaction components, including swimming pattern, reactive distance, turning rate, and jump kinetics, were quantified from individual predation events using motion analysis techniques. Among the observed escape reaction components, differences were noted between the species’ swimming patterns prior to attack and their response latencies. Temora turbinata was a continuous cruiser and P. parvus exhibited a hop-and-sink swimming pattern. During periods of sinking, P. parvus stopped beating its appendages, which presumably reduced any self-generated hydrodynamic signals and increased perceptual abilities to detect an approaching predator. Response latency was determined for each copepod species using a hydrodynamic stimulus produced by a 1 ms acoustic signal. Response latencies of T. turbinata were significantly longer than those of P. parvus. Despite some apparent perceptual advantages of P. parvus, the blenny successfully captured both species by modifying its attack behavior for the targeted prey.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Marine Science InstituteThe University of Texas at AustinPort AransasUSA
  2. 2.Graduate School of OceanographyUniversity of Rhode IslandNarragansettUSA

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