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Appears in Collections:Biological and Environmental Sciences Journal Articles
Peer Review Status: Refereed
Title: Facing different predators: adaptiveness of behavioral and morphological traits under predation
Author(s): Heynen, Martina
Bunnefeld, Nils
Borcherding, Jost
Keywords: behavior
morphological variation
Perca fluviatilis
predator-specific defenses
selective predation
Issue Date: Jun-2017
Citation: Heynen M, Bunnefeld N & Borcherding J (2017) Facing different predators: adaptiveness of behavioral and morphological traits under predation, Current Zoology, 63 (3), pp. 249-257.
Abstract: Predation is thought to be one of the main structuring forces in animal communities. However, selective predation is often measured on isolated traits in response to a single predatory species, but only rarely are selective forces on several traits quantified or even compared between different predators naturally occurring in the same system. In the present study, we therefore measured behavioral and morphological traits in young-of-the-year Eurasian perch Perca fluviatilis and compared their selective values in response to the 2 most common predators, adult perch and pike Esox lucius. Using mixed effects models and model averaging to analyze our data, we quantified and compared the selectivity of the 2 predators on the different morphological and behavioral traits. We found that selection on the behavioral traits was higher than on morphological traits and perch predators preyed overall more selectively than pike predators. Pike tended to positively select shallow bodied and nonvigilant individuals (i.e. individuals not performing predator inspection). In contrast, perch predators selected mainly for bolder juvenile perch (i.e. individuals spending more time in the open, more active), which was most important. Our results are to the best of our knowledge the first that analyzed behavioral and morphological adaptations of juvenile perch facing 2 different predation strategies. We found that relative specific predation intensity for the divergent traits differed between the predators, providing some additional ideas why juvenile perch display such a high degree of phenotypic plasticity.
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Rights: © The Author (2016). Published by Oxford University Press. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License (, which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. For commercial re-use, please contact

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