Adult Snapping Turtle (Chelydra serpentina) Feeding on Goldeneye Embryos of Pumpkinseed (Lepomis gibbosus) in Defended Nests

Alexanader J. Buse, Meghan A. Douglas, Thomas N. Giguere, Beren W. Robinson


Rarely observed predatory behaviour of adult Snapping Turtles (Chelydra serpentina) was recorded using remote video technology. We observed turtles inspecting and, in one case, apparently feeding on goldeneye stage embryos (< 3 mm) from defended nests of Pumpkinseed (Lepomis gibbosus). This novel behaviour was limited to nests in a secluded bay and was not observed at nests located along exposed shorelines or on shallow shoals in the deep open water habitat of an inland oligotrophic lake. The benefit of feeding on small prey is likely enhanced by embryos being clustered in nests and by an abundance of sunfish nests. Low-cost and low-intrusion video technology provides excellent opportunities, even in aquatic systems, to document novel predator and prey behaviours.


Remote video recording; predator–prey interaction; fish embryos; nesting Pumpkinseed; Lepomis gibbosus; Snapping Turtle ram-feeding; Chelydra serpentina

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