Fish predation, cannibalism, and larval development in the dragonfly Epitheca cynosura

D. B. Claus-Walker, P. H. Crowley, F. Johansson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


We manipulated the risk of fish predation and cannibalism in semi-field and laboratory experiments with larvae of the dragonfly Epitheca cynosura. Results of a 22-week semi-field experiment showed that larvae from different densities were indistinguishable in mean size by the end of the experiment, but that individuals from low densities were larger until week 12. Larvae from low densities varied less in size than did those from high densities. Larvae showed rapid convergence of densities in the absence of fish. Fish predation also generated rapid convergence of densities. The presence of fish initially reduced larval size variation. There was a significant trend for the presence of fish scent to increase larval survival at low larval densities over survival in the absence of fish. Behavioral observations in the laboratory supported the results of the semi-field study in that (i) dragonfly larvae reduced their activity under daytime conditions, (ii) the presence of large larvae caused small larvae to increase their hiding inside a refuge and inhibited their crawling while exposed, (iii) small larvae ate fewer prey in the presence of fish. The results of our study suggest that the interaction between intra- and inter-specific predation risk may prove to be important for survival and development of animals in natural systems.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)687-696
Number of pages10
JournalCanadian Journal of Zoology
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1997

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Animal Science and Zoology


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