Journal Article

Predation by herring (<i>Clupea harengus</i>) and sprat (<i>Sprattus sprattus</i>) on <i>Cercopagis pengoi</i> in a western Baltic Sea bay

Elena Gorokhova, Towe Fagerberg and Sture Hansson

in ICES Journal of Marine Science

Published on behalf of ICES/CIEM

Volume 61, issue 6, pages 959-965
Published in print January 2004 | ISSN: 1054-3139
Published online January 2004 | e-ISSN: 1095-9289 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.icesjms.2004.06.016
Predation by herring (Clupea harengus) and sprat (Sprattus sprattus) on Cercopagis pengoi in a western Baltic Sea bay

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Cercopagis pengoi is a pelagic cladoceran that has recently colonized the Baltic Sea and the Laurentian Great Lakes and is recognized as a species with the potential to affect natural foodwebs. To study the consumption of C. pengoi by zooplanktivorous fish, stomach contents of herring (size range 52–252 mm) and sprat (57–116 mm) from a coastal area of the northern Baltic proper were examined in parallel with zooplankton samples. The overall proportion of fish preying on C. pengoi was high both for sprat (70%) and for herring (61%), and it accounted for 8 ± 23% and 20 ± 33% of prey dry weight in the diets. The predation on Cercopagis depends on its abundance and on fish size; herring showed a tendency to become more selective for Cercopagis with increasing size. The majority of diapause eggs found in sprat (69%) were immature and appeared digested, while this was the case only for 2% of the eggs found in herring. These results suggest that Cercopagis has become a significant component in the diet of zooplanktivorous fish and, therefore, its abundance may be controlled by fish predation.

Keywords: Cercopagis pengoi; diapausing eggs; diet; herring Clupea harengus; invasive species; predation; selectivity; sprat Sprattus sprattus

Journal Article.  3979 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Environmental Science ; Marine and Estuarine Biology

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