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Hungry predators render predator-avoidance behavior in tadpoles ineffective.


Altwegg, R (2003). Hungry predators render predator-avoidance behavior in tadpoles ineffective. Oikos, 100(2):311-316.

Abstract

Behavioral responses of prey to their predators can critically alter community dynamics. Whether or not a prey responds, clearly depends on the effectiveness of that response. The effectiveness on the other hand is predicted to depend on predator behavior. Actively searching predators can render the behavioral responses in their prey ineffective. Nevertheless, most studies investigating the optimal reaction of prey treated predators as immobile elements of the environment. I experimentally manipulated activity of poolfrog (Rana lessonae) tadpoles by keeping them at low and high food levels, and exposed them to three species of invertebrate predators (Aeshna cyanea, Anax imperator, and Dytiscus marginalis), whose activity also was manipulated through different food levels. Satiated, less active predators were more likely to kill hungry, more active tadpoles, but hungry predators killed hungry and satiated tadpoles about equally often. This result suggests that reducing their activity is a more effective strategy for tadpoles if the predators themselves are less active. On the other hand, against hungry, highly motivated predators, the behavioral avoidance strategies were essentially ineffective. Antipredator behavior is generally thought to stabilize the dynamics of predator–prey systems. The results presented here, however, suggest that the community dynamical consequences of antipredator behavior also critically depend on decisions made by predators.

Behavioral responses of prey to their predators can critically alter community dynamics. Whether or not a prey responds, clearly depends on the effectiveness of that response. The effectiveness on the other hand is predicted to depend on predator behavior. Actively searching predators can render the behavioral responses in their prey ineffective. Nevertheless, most studies investigating the optimal reaction of prey treated predators as immobile elements of the environment. I experimentally manipulated activity of poolfrog (Rana lessonae) tadpoles by keeping them at low and high food levels, and exposed them to three species of invertebrate predators (Aeshna cyanea, Anax imperator, and Dytiscus marginalis), whose activity also was manipulated through different food levels. Satiated, less active predators were more likely to kill hungry, more active tadpoles, but hungry predators killed hungry and satiated tadpoles about equally often. This result suggests that reducing their activity is a more effective strategy for tadpoles if the predators themselves are less active. On the other hand, against hungry, highly motivated predators, the behavioral avoidance strategies were essentially ineffective. Antipredator behavior is generally thought to stabilize the dynamics of predator–prey systems. The results presented here, however, suggest that the community dynamical consequences of antipredator behavior also critically depend on decisions made by predators.

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20 citations in Web of Science®
20 citations in Scopus®
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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Zoology (former)
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
590 Animals (Zoology)
Language:English
Date:February 2003
Deposited On:11 Feb 2008 12:15
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 12:14
Publisher:Wiley-Blackwell
ISSN:0030-1299
Publisher DOI:10.1034/j.1600-0706.2003.12206.x

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