Expression of a behaviourally mediated morphology in response to different predators

Boyero, Luz (2011) Expression of a behaviourally mediated morphology in response to different predators. Ecological Research, 26 (6). pp. 1065-1070.

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Abstract

The risk of predation generally entails alterations in prey behaviour or morphology, but only a few organisms, such as caddisfly larvae, are able to undergo rapid morphological changes mediated by behaviour. Here I explore whether predatory fish (Squalius pyrenaicus) and crayfish (Procambarus clarkii) provoke similar responses from caddisfly larvae (Calamoceras marsupus) in terms of the speed of case construction and the use of different materials differing in their protective value (sticks > leaves; tough leaves > soft leaves). Laboratory experiments demonstrated that C. marsupus larvae were able to recognise both types of predators, and responded to them by constructing a case within hours. Moreover, predation risk motivated the use of more protective materials for case construction when compared to controls. The response to the crayfish was faster than that to the fish, which could be related to differences in the nature and predation efficiency of different predators (i.e. crayfish may be more efficient at predating on leaf litter-dwelling invertebrates than fish, which live in the water column). This study provides novel evidence about the expression of morphological defences mediated by behavioural responses to predation risk, and demonstrates that the speed of case construction and its resulting protection level can vary depending on predator nature.

Item ID: 20164
Item Type: Article (Refereed Research - C1)
Keywords: behaviour; stream ecosystem; inducible defence; morphology; predation
ISSN: 1440-1703
Date Deposited: 29 Feb 2012 06:35
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060204 Freshwater Ecology @ 100%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960807 Fresh, Ground and Surface Water Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity @ 100%
Citation Count from Web of Science Web of Science 2
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