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Allometric analysis of a morphological anti-predator trait in geographic populations of Japanese crucian carp

Kodama, S., Fujimori, H. and Hakoyama, H.

Costly anti-predator traits tend to be expressed only in high-predation conditions. For the cyprinid fish genus Carassius, deeper body depth is more adaptive to avoid predation by gape-limited piscivorous fish, but it raises swimming costs. It is therefore predicted that the relative body depth will decrease when the prey fish has reached a size larger than the predator gape-size. This prediction was tested by allometric analysis of the relation between body depth and standard length of triploid asexual females of the Japanese crucian carp (Carassius auratus sspp.) sampled from 13 geographic populations. The overall allometric relation was not significantly different from isometry. The estimate of the common major-axis slope was close to 1 (near-isometry). The mean relative body depth differed significantly among populations. A significant positive correlation was found with the mean annual air temperature. The geographic variation suggests that local selection pressures vary. In conclusion, the hypothesis that larger fish will have lower body depth was not supported, perhaps indicating that deep body depth in large fish is adaptive for some reason other than defense against piscivorous fish.

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