We examined how different exploratory behavioral types of largemouth bass responded to differing prey communities by determining effects on growth, survival and diet in experimental ponds. We found evidence that non-explorer largemouth bass target young-of-year bluegill early on in life, but bluegill were not an important diet item by late summer. The presence of young-of-year bluegill as prey does appear to affect the foraging strategy of the two exploring types differently. In the absence of small bluegill, both behavioral types feed primarily on benthic invertebrates and zooplankton. When small bluegill were present, we saw a shift away from zooplankton as prey for largemouth bass. However, that shift was toward more benthic invertebrates for non-exploring behavioral types and toward terrestrial insects for exploring behavioral types. Thus, it appears that prey community composition can have important effects on the way in which different behavioral types interact with their environment.
- Behavior type–environment interaction
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics