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Influence of previous experience on the feeding habits of larval weakfish Cynoscion regalis

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posted on 2023-08-05, 08:42 authored by Victoria ConnaughtonVictoria Connaughton, Charles E. Epifanio

Larval weakfish Cynoscion regalis (Bloch & Schneider) were examined to determine the influence of dietary conditioning on prey selection Experiments were conducted with larvae in each of 4 age classes (8, 11, 14 and 17 d posthatching) Larvae were given a monospecific diet of either large rotifers small rotifers, or brine shrimp nauplii for 5 d prior to an experiment Larvae were then given a choice between the familiar prey and one of the other prey types In separate experimental trials, the conditioned prey was administered in 3 different proportions (10. 25 or 40%) of the total ration Larvae consumed both prey types in all trials, but analysis of gut contents often showed a significant deviation from expected ratios of the 2 prey In expenments with the 2 size classes of rotifer, all ages of larvae chose the familiar prey In the large rotifer/brine shrimp experiments, larvae 11 and 14 d posthatching could be conditioned to large rotifers however, larvae 17 d posthatching always chose brine shrimp, even when initially conditioned to rotifers In comparisons of small rotifers and brine shrimp larvae never showed a preference for rotifers These results indicate that effects of dietary conditioning on prey selection vary with larval age and relative prey size.





Published in: MARINE ECOLOGY PROGRESS SERIES, vol. 101: 237-241.


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