Marine Biology

, Volume 149, Issue 4, pp 845–854 | Cite as

Cercopagis pengoi and Mysis spp. alter their feeding rate and prey selection under predation risk of herring (Clupea harengus membras)

  • Maiju LehtiniemiEmail author
  • Eveliina Lindén
Research Article


The anti-predator behaviour of Baltic crustacean planktivores was studied in feeding experiments under predation pressure of herring. The experiments were conducted with pelagic mysids: Mysis mixta and Mysis relicta, and with Cercopagis pengoi, a non-indigenous cladoceran, which invaded the Baltic Sea in 1992. Zooplankton was offered as prey. Two kinds of experiments were performed in the absence and presence of chemical predator cues: (1) two-prey experiments with prey, which have poor or good escape responses and all three planktivores and (2) natural prey experiments with mysids in natural zooplankton assemblages. The results showed that all three species reacted to the chemical cue of herring by decreasing their feeding rate and altering prey selection. C. pengoi selected easily captured prey (rotifers) in two-prey experiments under predation risk while selection for any prey was evident in mysids in natural prey experiments only in the absence of predator cues. This indicates that planktivores have different anti-predator strategies, which are modified by their own prey capture abilities. C. pengoi was a very efficient predator on small prey with size-specific prey consumption rate 5 to 18 times the rate of mysids. Results show that the studied planktivores are capable of adjusting their feeding behaviour to decrease their conspicuousness in order to increase survival under predation risk. Further, results support the view that C. pengoi has adapted well to the Baltic ecosystem, sharing food niche with pelagic mysids and most probably having a strong influence on the whole pelagic food web.


Predation Risk Prey Type Prey Selection Predator Treatment Predator Odour 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



We want to thank the crew of R/V Aranda for help in plankton sampling, E. Lahdes and S. Sopanen for guidance in C. pengoi handling and E. Gorokhova, L. Karjala, M. Karjalainen, E. Lahdes and two anonymous reviewers for fruitful comments on the manuscript. The study was financed by the Academy of Finland project # 203799 (ML) and Walter and Andrée de Nottbeck Foundation (EL).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Finnish Institute of Marine ResearchHelsinkiFinland
  2. 2.Tvärminne Zoological StationHankoFinland

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