Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Oecologia. 2007 Nov;154(1):237-46. Epub 2007 Aug 15.

Coevolution of foraging behavior with intrinsic growth rate: risk-taking in naturally and artificially selected growth genotypes of Menidia menidia.

Author information

  • 1Marine Sciences Research Center, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, NY, 11794-5000, USA.

Erratum in

  • Oecologia. 2008 Aug;157(1):183.


Although there is accumulating evidence of growth-rate optimization by natural selection, the coevolution of growth rate and risk-taking behavior has not been sufficiently documented. The Atlantic silverside fish, Menidia menidia, displays countergradient variation in growth across a latitudinal gradient: genotypes from Nova Scotia (NS), for example, grow in length twofold faster than those from South Carolina (SC). Past work has established that fast growth is adaptive in northern climates, but the trade-off is poorer swimming performance and higher susceptibility to predators. We compared escape behavior and willingness to forage under threat of predation among growth genotypes reared and tested under common-garden conditions. When chased with a predator model, NS fish occupied shelter more quickly than SC fish. When food was supplied after a chase, NS fish reemerged from the shelter much more quickly than SC fish and immediately commenced feeding, whereas many SC fish displayed timid behavior and did not feed. When food was absent following a chase, however, NS fish remained in the shelter longer than did SC fish and both displayed timid behavior. Hence, the fast-growing NS genotype was bolder than SC fish in the presence of food, but shyer in the absence of food. These behaviors are adaptive given the physiological constraints intrinsic to each genotype. Experiments on captive populations of silversides that had been artificially selected for fast or slow growth confirmed that foraging behavior is genetically correlated with intrinsic growth rate, although in these trials the fast-growth genotype was always more bold, regardless of food availability, as would be expected in the absence of predators. We conclude that risk-taking foraging behavior coevolves adaptively with intrinsic growth rate in M. menidia.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Springer
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk