Prey-induced vertical migration in Chaoborus larvae under different predator and light regimes

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Abstract

For freshwater prey like Daphnia and larvae of Chaoborus, it is well documented that they adjust their residence depth in the water column in response to predator kairomones in order to decrease encounter probability with the respective predator. Despite the importance of infochemicals in predator–prey interactions, it has not been tested if predators adjust their residence depth in response to infochemicals released by prey. Here, we use an indoor system with a stratified water column and show that the predatory phantom midge Chaoborus prefers strata with Daphnia incubation water over strata with control water. Further, the chemically mediated effect of a top predator (fish) on this system was shown to be light dependent with Chaoborus avoiding prey-conditioned water when it also contained fish kairomone in brighter surface water, but not in deeper and thus darker water layers. The foraging kairomone released by Daphnia can be extracted from incubation water via C18-based solid-phase extraction. These results add another dimension to the steering role of infochemicals in predator–prey interactions in zooplankton.

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