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The effects of zooplankton swimming behavior on prey-capture kinematics of red drum larvae, Sciaenops ocellatus
Beck, J.L.; Turingan, R.G. (2007). The effects of zooplankton swimming behavior on prey-capture kinematics of red drum larvae, Sciaenops ocellatus. Mar. Biol. (Berl.) 151: 1463-1470. http://hdl.handle.net/10.1007/s00227-006-0598-4
In: Marine Biology. Springer: Heidelberg; Berlin. ISSN 0025-3162, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Keyword
    Marine

Authors  Top 
  • Beck, J.L.
  • Turingan, R.G.

Abstract
    Most marine fishes undergo a pelagic larval phase, the early life history stage that is often associated with a high rate of mortality due to starvation and predation. We present the first study that examines the effects of prey swimming behavior on prey-capture kinematics in marine fish larvae. Using a digital high-speed video camera, we recorded the swimming velocity of zooplankton prey (Artemia franciscana, Brachionus rotundiformis, a ciliate species, and two species of copepods) and the feeding behavior of red drum (Sciaenops ocellatus) larvae. From the video recordings we measured: (1) zooplankton swimming velocity in the absence of a red drum larva; (2) zooplankton swimming velocity in the presence of a red drum larva; and (3) the excursion and timing of key kinematic events during prey capture in red drum larvae. Two-way ANOVA revealed that: (1) swimming velocity varied among zooplankton prey; and (2) all zooplankton prey, except rotifers and ciliates, increased their swimming velocity in the presence of a red drum larva. The kinematics of prey capture differed between two developmental stages in S. ocellatus larvae. Hyoid-stage larvae (3–14 days old) fed on slow swimming B. rotundiformis (rotifers) while hyoid-opercular stage larvae (15 days and older) ate fast moving A. franciscana. Hyoid-opercular stage red drum larvae had a larger gape, hyoid depression and lower jaw angle, and a longer gape cycle duration relative to their hyoid-stage conspecifics. Interestingly, the feeding repertoire within either stage of red drum development was not affected by prey type. Knowledge of the direct relationship between fish larvae and their prey aids in our understanding of optimal foraging strategies and of the sources of mortality in marine fish larvae.

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