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Linking antipredator behaviour, ingestion, gut evacuation and costs of predator-induced responses in tadpoles


Steiner, U K (2007). Linking antipredator behaviour, ingestion, gut evacuation and costs of predator-induced responses in tadpoles. Animal Behaviour, 74(5):1473-1479.

Abstract

Many prey organisms reduce their activity to reduce predation risk. A common argument is that a reduction in activity is one of the highest costs of defence. I exposed predator-induced and predator-naive morphs to a short-term predator environment and recorded behavioural, life-historical, physiological, and morphological responses. In contrast to expectation, reduced activity was not one of the highest costs of responding to predators. Predator-exposed tadpoles ingested the same amount of food with less feeding effort and evacuated food from their guts at a higher rate. Despite these advantages, predator-exposed tadpoles still paid costs in responding to predators, in decreased development rate. They did not have reduced survival or reduced growth. Costs in responding to predators are probably caused by physiological factors, such as reduced conversion rates, increased metabolic rates or by allocation to morphological defences, such as increased tail depth. My results show that feeding activity is not linked to the amount of food ingested and that physiological mechanisms, such as gut evacuation, decouple feeding activity and ingestion from growth, development and survival. There was no adaptive response in gut morphology. My study improves the understanding of the underlying internal and physiological mechanisms mediating the tradeoff between activity and costs of predator-induced defences.

Many prey organisms reduce their activity to reduce predation risk. A common argument is that a reduction in activity is one of the highest costs of defence. I exposed predator-induced and predator-naive morphs to a short-term predator environment and recorded behavioural, life-historical, physiological, and morphological responses. In contrast to expectation, reduced activity was not one of the highest costs of responding to predators. Predator-exposed tadpoles ingested the same amount of food with less feeding effort and evacuated food from their guts at a higher rate. Despite these advantages, predator-exposed tadpoles still paid costs in responding to predators, in decreased development rate. They did not have reduced survival or reduced growth. Costs in responding to predators are probably caused by physiological factors, such as reduced conversion rates, increased metabolic rates or by allocation to morphological defences, such as increased tail depth. My results show that feeding activity is not linked to the amount of food ingested and that physiological mechanisms, such as gut evacuation, decouple feeding activity and ingestion from growth, development and survival. There was no adaptive response in gut morphology. My study improves the understanding of the underlying internal and physiological mechanisms mediating the tradeoff between activity and costs of predator-induced defences.

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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)
Uncontrolled Keywords:Anura, assimilation, digestion efficiency, feeding activity, growth/predation risk trade-off, phenotypic plasticity, physiological plasticity, Rana lessonae
Language:English
Date:2007
Deposited On:11 Feb 2008 12:17
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 12:15
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:0003-3472
Publisher DOI:10.1016/j.anbehav.2007.02.016
Permanent URL: http://doi.org/10.5167/uzh-696

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