Nebraska Cooperative Fish & Wildlife Research Unit


Date of this Version



Published in Ecology of Freshwater Fish 2010: 19: 401–407


Predation is widely regarded as a means to prevent or minimise the establishment of a stunted (high density of slow growing individuals) population. We investigated the effect of predation on two different white perch Morone americana populations (stunted and nonstunted) by examining the stomach contents of piscivorous fishes. White perch and gizzard shad dominated piscivore diets in Branched Oak Lake, whereas white perch dominated piscivore diets in Pawnee Lake. White perch consumed in the stunted population (Branched Oak Lake) were larger and older than white perch consumed in the nonstunted population (Pawnee Lake). Many of the consumed white perch in the stunted population were sexually mature and had the opportunity to spawn at least once. In contrast, all of the consumed white perch in the nonstunted population were sexually immature. Predation may have reinforced the stunting of white perch in Branched Oak Lake through removal of the largest, oldest individuals.