Title

Predation on winter flounder (Pseudopleuronectes americanus) eggs by the sand shrimp (Crangon septemspinosa)

Document Type

Article

Publication Title

Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences

Publication Date

7-1-2005

Abstract

This study estimated rates of sand shrimp (Crangon septemspinosa) predation on winter flounder (Pseudopleuronectes americanus) eggs and examined the effect of temperature on density-dependent mortality of early-stage flounder. In laboratory experiments, shrimp feeding rates on flounder eggs were positively correlated with temperature and shrimp size. Immunological assays of shrimp stomach contents indicated that 7.2% of shrimp collected from the Niantic River (Connecticut) had flounder eggs in their stomachs. Incidence of egg predation was highest in February (20%) and decreased continuously into early April (1.2%). In a deterministic model simulating predator-induced mortality of flounder eggs during a spawning season, shrimp consumed 0.4%-49.7% of the total flounder spawn. Variations in shrimp population abundance and size structure accounted for the greatest variability in egg mortality. Water temperature during the spawning season presumably alters the population dynamics of early-stage flounder. In a long-term survey, the number of yolk-sac flounder larvae in warm years (≥4.3°C) was depressed at high egg densities, indicating strong compensatory processes that increased egg mortality and limited the abundance of larvae. Failure of flounder to produce strong year-classes of larvae during warm years, possibly resulting from altered trophic dynamics, may explain the inability of stocks to recover from previous overexploitation. © 2005 NRC.

Volume

62

Issue

7

First Page

1611

Last Page

1625

DOI

10.1139/f05-047

ISSN

0706652X

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