Gender dependent feeding rates in planktonic copepods

Tuesday 27 Jun 17


Rodrigo Almeda
DTU Aqua


Martin Lindegren
Senior Researcher
DTU Aqua
+4535 88 34 92


Thomas Kiørboe
DTU Aqua
+4535 88 34 01

Can differences in behavior between genders lead to reduced male feeding rates?

Planktonic copepods have sexual reproduction and the role in mate finding differs between sexes. Copepod males typically search for females whereas the females act as the passive partner. This asymmetry in mate searching behavior may compromise the male´s feeding efficiency, as mate searching and feeding can be conflicting activities.

In this study, we conducted functional feeding response experiments using males and females of copepods with different feeding strategies: “passive feeding” (ambush feeding) and “active feeding” (feeding-current feeding and cruising feeding). The observed gender-specific feeding rates were largely explained by the difference in body size between sexes, independent of the feeding strategy. However, in ambush feeders the highest measured maximum clearance rate of males were approximately two times lower than for females, because the male has to give up ambush feeding to find a mating partner. In “active feeders”, where mate searching and feeding can occur simultaneously, no gender differences in maximum clearance rates where observed.

We conclude that the conflict between mate searching and feeding can cause significant difference in feeding efficiency between copepod genders, depending of the feeding strategy displayed by the species.

Read the paper here.

Hans van Someren Gréve, Rodrigo Almeda, Martin Lindegren, Thomas Kiørboe; Gender-specific feeding rates in planktonic copepods with different feeding behavior. J Plankton Res 2017 1-14. doi: 10.1093/plankt/fbx033