Cannibalism as a regulatory force of pikeperch, Stizostedion lucioperca (L.), population dynamics in the lowland Sulejow reservoir (Central Poland)

  • P. Frankiewicz
  • K. Dabrowski
  • A. Martyniak
  • M. Zalewski
Part of the Developments in Hydrobiology book series (DIHY, volume 143)


Investigations of fish community dynamics in the pelagic and littoral zone of the lowland Sulejow reservoir (Central Poland) have revealed an occurrence of strong inter- and intra-cohort cannibalism in the population of the key predator: pikeperch, Stizostedion lucioperca (L.). In early summer the number of young-of-the-year, YOY, pikeperch in stomach contents of older conspecifics positively correlated with density of juveniles in the pelagic zone. In two years (1994, 1997), when high density of YOY pikeperch (0.6 and 0.8 individual per m3, respectively) was observed, more than seven juvenile pikeperch per stomach of older conspecifics were found. In years of low reproductive success of pikeperch (0.05 YOY per m3), the average number of juvenile pikeperch in stomachs of predatory conspecifics was below 1. The strong density-dependent predation resulted in a sharp decline of YOY pikeperch toward late summer. Cannibalistic pressure was also observed among YOY pikeperch. In the reservoir, juvenile cohorts displayed a bimodal size distribution in early summer. Small (zooplanktivorous) individuals served as a food for bigger (piscivorous) pikeperch. During shortages of alternative food (perch, cyprinids), cannibalism by YOY from the upper modal group may enhance their recruitment, at the cost of small juveniles (low winter survival). As an effect of this cannibalistic self-regulation, long-term stabilisation of pikeperch year-class strength has been observed.

Key words

pikeperch cannibalism recruitment lowland reservoir 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • P. Frankiewicz
    • 1
  • K. Dabrowski
    • 2
  • A. Martyniak
    • 3
  • M. Zalewski
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Applied EcologyUniversity of LodzBanacha 12/16Poland
  2. 2.School of Natural ResourcesThe Ohio State UniversityColumbusUSA
  3. 3.Olsztyn University of Agriculture and TechnologyOczapowskiego 5Poland

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