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The influence of tadpole swimming behaviour on predation by dragonfly nymphs

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This study analyses interspecific differences in anuran tadpole swimming behaviour that could influence vulnerability and therefore prey selection by dragonfly nymphs (Aeshna cyanea). Laboratory experiments showed that Bufo bufo tadpoles were almost continually and slowly in motion, which makes them easy prey for the dragonflies. Hyla arborea tadpoles were also very active and slow in swimming; in contrast to Bufo, however, they showed effective predator avoidance strategies (different habitat preferences, high evasiveness). The predation risk of Rana dalmatina larvae was low because the tadpoles were immobile and benthic, rare movements were made with high speeds. Bombina bombina is intermediate in swimming activity, velocity, and vulnerability.

Affiliations: 1: University of Vienna, Institute of Zoology, Department of Limnology, Althanstraße 14, A-1090 Vienna, Austria


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