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Prey risk assessment depends on conspecific density


Van Buskirk, J; Ferrari, M; Kueng, D; Näpflin, K; Ritter, N (2011). Prey risk assessment depends on conspecific density. Oikos, 120(8):1235-1239.

Abstract

In many systems, the number of prey killed by predators increases with prey density. Th is in turn generates higher levels of the indirect signals that prey use to assess predation risk. A model developed by Peacor (2003) showed that prey that respond to predator cues without accounting for conspecifi c density will consistently over- or under-estimate risk and therefore invest improperly in anti-predator defense. We tested this model using Rana temporaria tadpoles as prey and Aeshna cyanea dragonfl y larvae as predators. As assumed by the model, prey reduced risky activity with increasing concentrations of predator kairomones and increased activity at high prey density. However, prey did not react to changes in cue or density if the ratio of cue-to-density remained constant. Prey therefore monitored their per capita risk, strongly supporting Peacor’s model.

Abstract

In many systems, the number of prey killed by predators increases with prey density. Th is in turn generates higher levels of the indirect signals that prey use to assess predation risk. A model developed by Peacor (2003) showed that prey that respond to predator cues without accounting for conspecifi c density will consistently over- or under-estimate risk and therefore invest improperly in anti-predator defense. We tested this model using Rana temporaria tadpoles as prey and Aeshna cyanea dragonfl y larvae as predators. As assumed by the model, prey reduced risky activity with increasing concentrations of predator kairomones and increased activity at high prey density. However, prey did not react to changes in cue or density if the ratio of cue-to-density remained constant. Prey therefore monitored their per capita risk, strongly supporting Peacor’s model.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
590 Animals (Zoology)
Language:English
Date:2011
Deposited On:27 Jul 2011 12:02
Last Modified:26 Jan 2017 08:49
Publisher:Wiley-Blackwell
ISSN:0030-1299
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1600-0706.2010.19311.x

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