Distribution and abundance of Daphnia pulicaria, a large Daphnia of the "pulex group", in Lake Constance (Lower Lake)

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Abstract

The population dynamics and distribution of Daphnia pulicaria were studied in Lake Constance (Lower Lake). This Daphnia was absent in the year 2004, absent during most part of the year 2005 and absent in spring 2007 but present from November 2005 to July 2006. Abundance was high from January to late May of the year 2006; maximum abundance was 95,000 ind. m<sup>-2</sup> (30 May). Males and ephippial females were observed in January and late May. Ovigerous females constituted between 30% and 70% of adult females from November 2005 to April 2006; in June and July their percentage decreased to <20%. Mean number of eggs per egg-bearing female ranged between 2 (in November 2005) and 9.8 (in April 2006) and maximum egg number was 20. Birth and growth rates were low (generally <0.15); death rate was highest in June (0.275). Females of D. pulicaria were larger than females of Daphnia galeata/hyalina but carried somewhat fewer eggs. D. pulicaria generally preferred the deep cool water layers. The species was abundant in the northern parts of the Lower Lake (Gnadensee and Zeller See), rare in the southern parts (Rheinsee) and absent in the Upper Lake. We conclude that the life history and occurrence of large-bodied D. pulicaria in Lake Constance can be governed by fish predation pressure. This suggestion is supported by analyses of stomach contents from Coregonus lavaretus; stomachs contained high proportions of D. pulicaria in the first half of the year 2006. The disappearance of D. pulicaria in early summer and the comparatively low proportion of adults for most part of the investigation period also indicate that fish predation is involved in the dynamics of this Daphnia. The preference for deep cool water can be strategy to reduce predation risk. The low density of D. pulicaria in the southern basin of Lower Lake (Rheinsee) may be explained by the influence of the Rhine River which flows through this basin. © 2007 Elsevier GmbH. All rights reserved.

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Stich, H. B., & Maier, G. (2007). Distribution and abundance of Daphnia pulicaria, a large Daphnia of the “pulex group”, in Lake Constance (Lower Lake). Limnologica, 37(4), 303–310. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.limno.2007.07.002

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