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Hydrobiologia

, Volume 635, Issue 1, pp 205–213 | Cite as

Size-structured effects of common carp on reproduction of pond-breeding amphibians

  • Janusz Kloskowski
Primary research paper

Abstract

The role of fish in driving amphibian communities has been widely recognized. However, little is known about size-structured interactions between amphibian and fish populations. This study compared the taxonomic occurrence and densities of larval amphibians between unstocked ponds and ponds stocked with different age cohorts of common carp Cyprinus carpio differing in average body size. The average total densities of early and late breeding anurans known to be vulnerable to fish were by 1–2 orders of magnitude greater in the presence of young-of-the-year carp than that of older cohorts. The probabilities of occurrence of the most common taxa did not differ between ponds stocked with young-of-the-year fish and ponds free of carp, but were significantly larger in those ponds than in ponds stocked with large-size cohorts. No significant differences between pond categories were found for densities of unpalatable Bufo bufo larvae. In aquatic systems harbouring size-structured fish populations, a fish age/size gradient may explain differential habitat suitability for breeding amphibians better than the fish presence/absence dichotomy. When dominated by young cohorts incapable of predation or of adverse habitat alteration, fish-abundant waters are suitable for amphibian reproduction. Conversely, even a ‘non-predatory’ fish, after attaining large body size, may exert a detrimental impact on amphibian breeding success. These findings may be particularly important for amphibian conservation at pond fisheries characterized by spatial separation of age/size distributed stocks.

Keywords

Amphibian conservation Breeding habitat Fish ponds Larval anurans Size-structured interactions 

Notes

Acknowledgements

I am grateful to the fish farmers (M. Filipiak, E. Lagowski, J. Orzepowski, G. Olszak and M. Sagan) for the data on fish supply. M. Nieoczym, M. Polak and P. Pitucha provided field assistance. This research was funded by grants from the State Committee for Scientific Research (KBN 6 PO4F 066 20 and 3 PO4F 036 23). The comments of two anonymous referees greatly improved an early draft of the manuscript.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Nature Conservation, Institute of BiologyM. Curie-Skłodowska UniversityLublinPoland

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