Raptorial characteristics may evolve in predators because of their importance in obtaining food. The giant water bug, Kirkaldyia deyrolli, possesses a claw on the terminal segment of the raptorial foreleg that is crucial for capturing prey. Claw curvature has been previously shown to change during growth in this species, but the adaptive significance of this change has not yet been explored. Predation experiments have demonstrated that young nymphs with highly curved claws caught proportionally larger prey than older nymphs with less-curved claws. Catching behaviours for a certain prey size differed significantly between young and older nymphs. The observation that nymphal growth affects prey-catching behaviour in the giant water bug supports the hypothesis that predators can change catching behaviours based on changes in raptorial characteristics in order to maximize prey resources acquired at each developmental stage.
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