Non-lethal effects of invertebrate predators on Daphnia: Morphological and life-history consequences of water mite kairomone

Mauricio J. Carter, Caren Vega-Retter, Rodrigo Ramos-Jiliberto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


1. Here, we report morphological and life-historical changes in the cladoceran Daphnia ambigua in response to chemical cues released by the predatory water mite Piona chilensis. Both species are common inhabitants of southern temperate lakes. 2. We found significant differences in adult body size at first, second and third reproduction. Also, individuals exposed to kairomones had longer tail spines at first reproduction, and the resultant offspring had smaller bodies and shorter tail spines. 3. Exposure to mite cues did not exert effects on brood size at first reproduction, but decreased offspring number in subsequent broods. Similarly, only the second and third reproduction events were delayed by kairomone exposure. 4. The intrinsic population growth rate of predator-induced animals was lower than that in controls, but simulations based on a parameterized matrix model showed that the fitness costs could be overcome if the reported phenotypic responses reduced predation rate moderately. The gain in protection from predators needed to cancel out the reduction in fitness associated with predator cues was directly related to juvenile survival and fertility, and inversely related to adult survival. 5. This is the first work reporting phenotypic plasticity in Cladocera in response to kairomones released by water mites, which are conspicuous predators in many austral fresh waters.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1857-1867
Number of pages11
JournalFreshwater Biology
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2008


  • Chile
  • Costs
  • Inducible defenses
  • Piona chilensis
  • Trait-mediated indirect effects

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aquatic Science


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