[en] behaviour ; cannibalism ; larvae ; ontogeny ; population density ; Perca
[en] The effect of stocking density (10, 31.6 and 100 larvae 1(-1); three replicates per treatment) on the day-by-day dynamics of survival, growth and cannibalism was examined in sibling perch larvae reared from eyed-egg stage in 100-1 cages (16L:8D, 20.0 +/- 0.5 degreesC, O-2 greater than or equal to 6.0 mg 1(-1); feeding in excess with live Artemia nauplii during the photophase) during the first 3 weeks of exogenous feeding. Larvae unable to achieve the transition to exogenous feeding died in between 7 and I I days post-hatch. Later, mortality from causes other than cannibalism never exceeded 1% day(-1). Cannibalism did not start before days 10 - 11 and first consisted in the incomplete ingestion of prey attacked tail first, exclusively. This type of cannibalism never caused losses higher than 2.0% of the initial stock, and ceased after days 16-18. From days 12-14 onwards, differential growth was apparent, and cannibals turned to complete cannibalism of small prey ingested head first, which caused greater losses (28-53% of the stock). Increasing the stocking density did not compromise growth and decreased the overall impact of cannibalism through several complementary mechanisms: (i) a postponed emergence of cannibalism, (ii) a lower proportion of cannibals in the population, and (iii) probably a lower rate of cannibalism per capita as predation was complicated and less directed at high stocking density. (C) 2003 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.