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Article << Previous     |     Next >>   Contents Vol 24(3)

Palatability of Bufo marinus Tadpoles to a Predatory Fish Decreases with Development

Karen L. Lawler and Jean-Marc Hero

Wildlife Research 24(3) 327 - 334
Published: 1997


This investigation showed an ontogenetic shift in the palatability of Bufo marinus tadpoles by measuring consumption of tadpoles at three different developmental stages (newly hatched, intermediate and pre- metamorphic) by an Australian predatory fish, Lates calcarifer (barramundi). A known-palatable tadpole, Limnodynastes ornatus, was used as the control. B. marinus tadpoles at all developmental stages were unpalatable relative to a palatable alternative, with the later stages being the least palatable. Choice experiments further demonstrated that L. calcarifer were able to recognise and choose L. ornatus tadpoles in preference to those of B. marinus. Our experiments demonstrate that at all stages of development, B. marinus tadpoles were unpalatable to L. calcarifer. Contrary to the model proposed by Brodie and Formanowicz (1987), our results suggest an ontogenetic shift in palatability of B. marinus tadpoles to a vertebrate fish predator, with the later stages being less palatable.

Full text doi:10.1071/WR96089

© CSIRO 1997

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