Constraints Placed by Predators on Feeding Behaviour

  • Manfred Milinski


Teleost fish are frequently in danger of being preyed upon. Predators of many taxa are specialised piscivores and there are more of them that attack small fish. Therefore, young fish normally live under a high risk of predation, which decreases as they grow older and bigger. Growing fast is not only a good strategy for escaping the prey spectrum of many predators, but also for increasing reproductive success; bigger teleosts are generally able to produce more numerous offspring than smaller ones because bigger females produce more eggs, and bigger males can defend breeding sites better and have a higher social rank; for example, dominant male threespined sticklebacks (Gasterosteus aculeatus) maintain larger territories and have priority of access to females (Li and Owings 1978). Thus, there is a high selection pressure to feed most efficiently in order to grow quickly.


Prey Item Small Fish Prey Density Largemouth Bass Food Patch 
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© Tony J. Pitcher 1986

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  • Manfred Milinski

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