Predation of threespine stickleback by dragonfly naiads

Emily A. Lescak, Frank A. von Hippel, Brian K. Lohman, Mary L. Sherbick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Threespine stickleback (Gasterosteus aculeatus) populations that have evolved pelvic girdle reduction are most commonly found in lakes with low dissolved ion concentration, a lack of piscivorous fishes and abundant macroinvertebrate predators. Researchers have speculated that macroinvertebrates have a propensity to consume prey with pelvic spines. If this is true, perhaps macroinvertebrates use the stickleback's spines to facilitate capture and manipulation. This study tested whether dragonfly naiads differentially prey upon stickleback possessing either a complete or reduced pelvis and documented naiad hunting and capturing behaviour. Results from an arena experiment suggest that naiads do not prey more heavily upon individuals with one pelvic phenotype over the other. However, results from trials where the naiads were presented with one stickleback with pelvic spines and another without suggest that naiads prey more heavily upon small stickleback with pelvic spines and large stickleback without pelvic spines and that they adjust their predatory behaviour based upon the pelvic phenotype of the prey.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)581-587
Number of pages7
JournalEcology of Freshwater Fish
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Aeshna
  • Gasterosteus aculeatus
  • Pelvic girdle, pelvic reduction, pelvic spine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Aquatic Science
  • Ecology


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