Journal of Chemical Ecology

, Volume 27, Issue 9, pp 1775–1785 | Cite as

Brook Charr Alevins Alter Timing of Nest Emergence in Response to Chemical Cues from Fish Predators

  • Reehan S. Mirza
  • Douglas P. Chivers
  • Jean-Guy J. Godin


Brook charr (Salvelinus fontinalis) lay their eggs in gravel nests called redds. The nests are not defended for extended periods and the eggs and young may be subject to predation from predators that travel through the substrate into the redd. In this study we tested whether long-term exposure of brook charr eggs to chemical cues from predatory sculpins (Cottus cognatus) resulted in an adaptive shift in the timing of emergence of charr alevins from artificial redds. We reared brook charr eggs in the presence of chemical cues from sculpins fed brook charr eggs, sculpins fed brine shrimp, and a well water control. Significantly more alevins emerged during the first week of the emergence period when exposed to chemical cues from sculpins fed eggs than from cues from sculpins fed brine shrimp or from well water. Alevins that emerged sooner were smaller and possessed larger yolk sacs than alevins that emerged later in the emergence period. Our results suggest that alevins that emerge sooner may escape predation in the redd, but may pay a cost in being under-developed upon emergence into the open water of the stream or lake.

Alevin redd brook charr slimy sculpin emergence predation egg yolk 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Reehan S. Mirza
    • 1
  • Douglas P. Chivers
    • 1
  • Jean-Guy J. Godin
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Biological SciencesUniversity of MaineOrono
  2. 2.Department of BiologyMount Allison UniversitySackvilleCanada

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