Fish egg predation by Baltic sprat and herring: do species characteristics and development stage matter?

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Predation of eggs by clupeids has been identified as a major factor contributing to early life stage mortality of Baltic cod. We used data from ichthyoplankton sampling and clupeid stomach analyses to investigate whether eggs of other fish species are to a similar extent subject to predation, and how predation pressure differs between egg development stages. Cod, sprat and rockling eggs dominated in the ichthyoplankton fraction in herring and sprat diet, whereas flounder and dab eggs occurred only occasionally. In spring, cod eggs at advanced development stages were positively and sprat eggs generally negatively selected by both predators, while fish eggs were non-selectively consumed in summer. Predation is suggested to account for a large fraction of mortality of cod eggs at older stages, i.e. those eggs, which have survived the often detrimentally low oxygen concentration in and below the permanent halocline. The consumption rates of sprat eggs at all development stages relative to production rates were considerably lower compared to cod, suggesting that egg predation is of lesser importance for sprat recruitment.
Original languageEnglish
JournalCanadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences
Issue number10
Pages (from-to)1626-1634
Publication statusPublished - 2017
CitationsWeb of Science® Times Cited: No match on DOI

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ID: 140840518