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Data from: Predation selects for smaller eye size in a vertebrate: effects of environmental conditions and sex

Citation

Svanback, Richard; Johansson, Frank (2019), Data from: Predation selects for smaller eye size in a vertebrate: effects of environmental conditions and sex, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.475bv7s

Abstract

Increased eye size in animals results in a larger retinal image and thus improves visual acuity. Thus, larger eyes should aid both in finding food as well as detecting predators. On the other hand, eyes are usually very conspicuous and several studies have suggested that eye size is associated with predation risk. However, experimental evidence is scanty. In this study, we address how predation affects variation in eye size by performing two experiments using Eurasian perch juveniles as prey and either larger individuals or pike as predators. First, we used large outdoor tanks to compare selection due to predators on relative eye size in open and artificial vegetated habitats. Second, we studied the effects of both predation risk and resource levels on phenotypic plasticity in relative eye size in indoor aquaria experiments. In the first experiment, we found that habitat altered selection due to predators, since predators selected for smaller eye size in a non-vegetated habitat, but not in vegetated habitat. In the plasticity experiment, we found that fish predators induced smaller eye size in males, but not in females, while resource levels had no effect on eye size plasticity. Our experiments provide evidence that predation risk could be one of the driving factors behind variation in eye size within species.

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