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In laboratory studies, we quantified predation rates and handling time of crayfish (Orconectes virilis) on zebra mussels (Dreissena polymorpha) and rainbow trout (Oncorhhynchus mykiss) eggs. In single prey species tests, crayfish ate zebra mussels at similar rates as they ate rainbow trout eggs. When both prey were present, crayfish preferred rainbow trout eggs. Handling time of mussels was about twice that of rainbow trout eggs, and energetic content of mussels was lower. Therefore, net benefit for foraging on rainbow trout eggs was about three times that of foraging on zebra mussels.
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Crayfish (Orconectes virilis) predation on zebra mussels (Dreissena polymorpha)