Impact of a predator in the foraging behaviour of solea senegalensis

  • Maia A
  • Vinagre C
  • Cabral H
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Abstract

Habitat modelling requires incorporation of both biotic and abiotic information. For juvenile flatfish the factors that most influence growth are water temperature, food abundance and predatory pressure. This study focuses on the impact the predator, the shore crab, Carcinus maenas, has on the foraging activity of sole, Solea senegalensis. The results show that in the presence of both prey (ragworm, Nereis diversicolor) and predator, similar or equal to 10% decrease in foraging activity is observed when compared to the sole in the presence of only food. This suggests that when the shore crab is present, Senegalese soles are not only affected by direct predation but sub-optimal foraging is also found. Behaviours most correlated with foraging were crawling and tapping and these activities were also affected by the presence of the predator. This study also provides further support for visual recognition of predators and olfactory prey recognition in the Senegalese sole. Predator-prey encounters shape species behaviours profoundly and have to be looked at from different levels of ecology, behaviour and modelling.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Carcinus maenas
  • Foraging
  • Predatorprey
  • Solea senegalensis

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