Environmental Biology of Fishes

, Volume 38, Issue 4, pp 331–344 | Cite as

The role of escape reactions in determining the size distribution of prey captured by herring larvae

  • Michael R. Heath


Fish larvae are selective planktivores, and size is an important factor in prey selection. However, for herring larvae, a selection model based solely on the principle of optimising calorific gain per unit energy expenditure consistently overestimates the mean size of ingested prey. Most such models ignore the escape capabilities and shape of the prey, and the potential role of escape on capture success. In this paper, a static foraging model incorporating both selection and escape is described and tested against published data on the composition of herring larvae stomach contents. The results indicate that prey escape is a major factor structuring the diet composition of the larvae.

Key words

Model Fish larvae Diet Preference 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael R. Heath
    • 1
  1. 1.Scottish Office Agriculture and Fisheries DepartmentMarine LaboratoryAberdeenU.K.

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