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Fish predation effects on body length of planktonic cladocerans and copepods in Chilean lakes

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The zooplankton assemblages in Chilean lakes are characterized by their markedly low species numbers and dominance of calanoid copepods. Nevertheless, the effects of zooplanktivorous fish predation on zooplankton size in these communities have not yet been studied in detail. The aim of the present study was to analyse the total length in the main groups of zooplanktonic crustaceans in Chilean lakes: Copepoda: Calanoida, and Cladocera: Daphniidae, as well as “small cladocerans” (specifically the families Bosminidae and Chydoridae). The results revealed that in the presence of fish, total body length decreased significantly for calanoid copepods, whereas for other groups that presence has no significant effect. In sites with fishes, daphniids are significantly larger in comparison with the other groups of the zooplankton community, whereas in sites without fishes calanoids are significant larger in comparison with those other groups. These results would indicate that calanoids would be the main prey for zooplanktivorous fishes in Chilean lakes. Similar results have been reported for Argentinean Patagonian lakes.


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