Recent studies have shown that Daphnia hybrids are intermediate to their parental species for several life history traits, and that they combine advantageous traits of the parental species, thereby decreasing their risk of being preyed upon by planktivorous fish. In this study D. galeata, D. cucullata and their interspecific hybrid are compared with respect to cyclomorphosis and juvenile growth as a potential mechanism to avoid invertebrate predation. Helmets and tail spines are known to reduce predation risk, whereas fast juvenile growth reduces the period that Daphnia are vulnerable to predation. In laboratory cultures, I tested the hypothesis that, with regard to cyclomorphosis, juvenile hybrids are more comparable to the juveniles of D. cucullata, and with respect to growth rate, they are more comparable to D. galeata. The hybrid did not differ significantly from D, galeata in the time needed to reach 0.9 mm body length. In contrast, the relative spine and helmet length of juvenile hybrids were more comparable with those of D. cucullata, whereas in adult instars these characters were more similar to D. galeata. Thus during the first juvenile instars, the hybrids combine the relative long helmet and spine of D. cucullata, with the faster growth of D. galeata. This combination of characteristics might reduce hybrid vulnerability to invertebrate predation in field situations. [KEYWORDS: Cyclomorphosis; daphnia; interspecific hybridization; invertebrate predation; life histories Life-history variation; interspecific hybridization; invertebrate predation; chaoborus-flavicans; leptodora-kindti; galeata-mendotae; species complex; pulex; prey; cladocerans]
Original languageEnglish
Journal publication date1995

ID: 76851