Benefits of a predator induced morphology in crucian carp

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Crucian carp (Carassius carassius) develop a
deeper body in response to chemical cues from piscivores.
This change in body morphology has been suggested
to be a predator-induced defence. Here we investigate the
possible benefits of the induced body morphology in laboratory
experiments. Pike foraging behaviour when feeding
on crucian carp of different body depths was recorded
using video. Further, in a preference experiment pike
were allowed to choose between shallow-bodied and
deep-bodied crucian carp of similar lengths. Crucian
carp body morphology did not affect predatory behaviours
(activity, searching, following, observing, capture
success) in northern pike, but an increase in crucian carp
body depth led to an increase in handling time in pike. In
the preference experiment, pike preferred shallow-bodied
crucian carp over deep-bodied. Thus, a change in body
morphology, induced by the presence of piscivores, benefits
crucian carp by increasing piscivore handling times
and an avoidance of the deep-bodied phenotype.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Ecology


  • Predator-prey interactions, Induced defence, Phenotypic plasticity - Body depth. Carassius carassius
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)291-296
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1995
Publication categoryResearch