Abstract Inducible defenses against predators are widespread among plants and animals. For example, some Daphnia species form neckteeth against predatory larvae of the dipteran genus Chaoborus . Though thoroughly studied in D. pulex , knowledge about neckteeth in other Daphnia species is limited. The occurrence of this trait in the D. longispina species complex is only sporadically reported and the specific shape of neckteeth or the occurrence of other morphological defense traits is scarcely known in this widespread group. Here, we explored neckteeth occurrence in a large number of D. longispina populations across Scandinavia and studied neckteeth formation and other morphological defense traits on three D. longispina clones in the laboratory. In the study region, neckteeth on juvenile D. longispina s. str. were observed frequently in permanent ponds, but only when Chaoborus spp. larvae were present. In the laboratory experiments, all three D. longispina clones developed neckteeth (very similar to D. pulex ) in response to Chaoborus kairomone exposure. The D. longispina clones also developed a longer tail spine, wider body, and larger neckteeth pedestal in response to predation threat—likely as a defense against the gape-limited predator. The intensity of neckteeth expression also depended on the clone studied and the concentration of Chaoborus kairomone. Our results demonstrate that neckteeth on D. longispina can be common in nature and that D. longispina can also induce other morphological defenses against predators. The similarity of neckteeth in D. longispina and D. pulex imposes yet unresolved questions on the evolutionary origin in these distantly related Daphnia groups.
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