Hatching with the enemy: Daphnia diapausing eggs hatch in the presence of fish kairomones

  • Lass S
  • Vos M
  • Wolinska J
 et al. 
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Infochemicals are known to play a key role in mediating predator-prey interactions, both in aquatic and terrestrial communities. However, state-dependent variation may exist in how effectively individuals can use this infor-mation, depending on genotype, life stage and experience. For our study, we used the predator-prey model system fish-waterflea Daphnia magna Straus (Cladocera, Daphniidae). Adult Daphnia use fish-derived infochemicals, so-called kairomones, as indicators of predation risk, and exhibit a spectrum of morphological, behavioural and life-history responses to the presence of fish kairomones. Here, we investigate whether diapausing eggs, an embryonic resting stage in the life cycle of D. magna, also use fish kairomones and tune their hatching to the risk of fish predation, as reported for diapausing stages of dinoflagellates. In two laboratory experiments, we studied hatching proportion and time until hatching of D. magna diapausing eggs in the absence and presence of fish kairomones. D. magna families differed significantly in their response to the presence of fish kairomones; some families reduced hatching propor-tion, whereas others increased it. Our results imply genotype-dependent differences in the hatching reactions to fish kairomones as observed for other traits in adult Daphnia.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Diapause
  • Ephippia
  • Inducible defences
  • Infochemical
  • Resting egg

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  • Sandra Lass

  • Matthijs Vos

  • Justyna Wolinska

  • Piet Spaak

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