Foraging specialisms, prey size and life-history patterns: a test of predictions using sympatric polymorphic Arctic charr (Salvelinus alpinus)

Fraser, D., Huntingford, F.A. and Adams, C.E. (2007) Foraging specialisms, prey size and life-history patterns: a test of predictions using sympatric polymorphic Arctic charr (Salvelinus alpinus). Ecology of Freshwater Fish, 17(1), pp. 1-9. (doi:/10.1111/j.1600-0633.2007.00245.x)

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Publisher's URL: http://dx.doi.org//10.1111/j.1600-0633.2007.00245.x

Abstract

We use arguments based on optimal foraging theory to predict body size constraints and the consequences of these on a range of life-history traits in three trophic specialist morphs of Arctic charr, Salvelinus alpinus, living in sympatry in Loch Rannoch, Scotland. As predicted, foraging specialists feeding on small prey items with a narrow size range showed evidence of deterministic growth; the ultimate body size of macrobenthos feeders being larger (L∞ = 238 mm) than that of planktivores (L∞ = 216 mm). In contrast, the piscivorous morph showed no evidence of reaching a maximal body size. The two size-constrained morphs (benthivores and planktivores) matured earlier and died younger (living for up to 11 and 7 years, respectively, in this study) than did the piscivorous charr which showed continuous growth up to at least 17 years. The pattern of annual reproductive investment in maturing individuals was complex. Planktivores invested in larger eggs than the other two forms, but benthivores produced a greater number of eggs than planktivores, which in turn produced more than piscivores. Planktivorous males had a greater investment in mean testis weight than the other two forms. Lifetime reproductive output was the greatest in the benthivorous charr, intermediate in planktivorous and the lowest in the piscivorous charr when measured either as fecundity or as gonadal weight. We conclude that constraints imposed upon foraging specialists by foraging efficiency is a significant driver of body size and ultimately reproductive investment in gape-limited foraging salmonids.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Huntingford, Professor Felicity and Adams, Professor Colin
Authors: Fraser, D., Huntingford, F.A., and Adams, C.E.
Subjects:Q Science > QL Zoology
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Biodiversity Animal Health and Comparative Medicine
Journal Name:Ecology of Freshwater Fish
ISSN:0906-6691

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