Send to

Choose Destination
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2001 Jun 19;98(13):7371-4. Epub 2001 Jun 5.

Tracking wakes: the nocturnal predatory strategy of piscivorous catfish.

Author information

Department of Biology, University of Konstanz, 78457 Konstanz, Germany.


Swimming fish leave wakes containing hydrodynamic and chemical traces. These traces mark their swim paths and could guide predators. We now show that nocturnal European catfish (Silurus glanis) locate a piscine prey (guppy, Poecilia reticulata) by accurately tracking its three-dimensional swim path before an attack in the absence of visible light. Wakes that were up to 10 s old were followed over distances up to 55 prey-body lengths in our setup. These results demonstrate that prey wakes remain sufficiently identifiable to guide predators, and to extend considerably the area in which prey is detectable. Moreover, wakes elicit rear attacks, which may be more difficult to detect by prey. Wake tracking may be a common strategy among aquatic predators.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for HighWire Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center