Direct field and laboratory evidence that a combination of egg and larval predation controls recruitment of invasive common carp in many lakes of the upper Mississippi River Basin

Justin J. Silbernagel, Peter W. Sorensen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations

Abstract

Field and laboratory experiments tested the hypothesis that recruitment of the invasive Common Carp Cyprinus carpio is often controlled by the feeding activity of egg and larval predators in interconnected lakes of the upper Mississippi River basin. The survival of naturally spawned carp eggs was monitored in a seemingly typical lake by sampling the abundance of such eggs in spawning areas and in the diets of fish caught at these locations. Over 95% of the carp eggs found attached to spawning substrate disappeared within 4 d of spawning, at the same time that large numbers of eggs were found in the stomachs of Bluegills Lepomis macrochirus. Egg predation closely paralleled but lagged egg disappearance. Concurrent laboratory studies showed that carp eggs hatched after 4.75 d at lake temperatures, demonstrating that most (but perhaps not all) of the eggs had been eaten by egg predators prior to hatching. A second laboratory experiment found that Bluegills readily find and consume carp larvae while Black Bullheads Ameiurus melas do not, suggesting that predation on larvae contributes to carp recruitment. These data, together with previous studies of the survival of carp eggs placed into lakes and the distribution of young carp relative to various species of native fish, add strong support to the hypothesis that the recruitment of carp in interconnected lakes of the upper Mississippi River basin is often controlled by native fish predators.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1134-1140
Number of pages7
JournalTransactions of the American Fisheries Society
Volume142
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 4 2013

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