Predation of calanoid copepods on their own and other copepods’ offspring

Maarten.Boersma [ at ]


Predation of eggs and nauplii by adult copepods is often used to explain unexpected death rates in population dynamics studies, but the phenomenon has been rarely investigated or quantified. Therefore, we studied the predatory feeding of adult females (Acartia clausi, Centropages hamatus, Centropages typicus, and Temora longicornis) on their own and other species’ eggs and young nauplii with different densities of single animal-prey, mixtures of animal-prey and in the presence of diatoms. All species preyed on eggs and nauplii of their own and all other species. Maximal egg predation varied between 7 and 64 eggs fem−1 day−1. Ingestion of Centropages spp. eggs was lowest, potentially due to the spiny egg surface. Maximal feeding rates on nauplii ranged from 5 to 45 nauplii fem−1 day−1. T. longicornis preferred eggs, when eggs and nauplii were offered together at the same densities, and the other predators selected for nauplii. At a diatom concentration of 60 μg C l−1 predation on eggs by C. typicus was higher than without algae, whereas A. clausi and T. longicornis did not change their uptake of eggs. Feeding on nauplii in the presence of diatoms was again enhanced in C. typicus, and unaffected in A. clausi and C. hamatus. T. longicornis reduced its feeding on nauplii in the presence of diatoms. Calculated predation rates, using field abundances of predators and prey, suggest that predation of copepods on their own young stages may account for ca. 30 % of total mortality of young stages in North Sea copepod populations.

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Peer revision
ISI/Scopus peer-reviewed
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Eprint ID
DOI 10.1007/s00227-013-2373-7

Cite as
Boersma, M. , Wesche, A. and Hirche, H. J. (2014): Predation of calanoid copepods on their own and other copepods’ offspring , Marine Biology . doi: 10.1007/s00227-013-2373-7



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