Differential behavioural flexibility in response to predation risk in native and introduced tropical savannah rodents

Abom, Rickard, and Schwarzkopf, Lin (2016) Differential behavioural flexibility in response to predation risk in native and introduced tropical savannah rodents. Animal Behaviour, 122. pp. 117-124.

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Abstract

Differential predation risk between habitats, or 'the landscape of fear', can have profound impacts on foraging strategies of prey. Few studies, however, have described the landscape of fear in the wild, in relation to predator densities. Using giving-up density experiments, and vertebrate surveys, we described the landscape of fear for two rodent species in relation to actual predator abundances in a tropical savannah. We offered native eastern chestnut mice, Pseudomys gracilicaudatus, and introduced house mice, Mus musculus domesticus, food in the open, and under the cover of grass. When eastern brown snakes, Pseudonaja textilis, were absent, both eastern chestnut and house mice consumed more food items under grass. In habitats where snakes were abundant, however, eastern chestnut mice changed their foraging behaviour, and consumed more food items in the open than under grass. In contrast, non-native house mice reduced their foraging activity under cover, but showed no increase in foraging in the open in the presence of snakes. Thus, native eastern chestnut mice have the ability to change their foraging tactics to adjust their antipredator behaviour to remain successful in the presence of native eastern brown snakes, whereas introduced house mice did not exhibit this behaviour.

Item ID: 47135
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1095-8282
Keywords: antipredator behaviour, giving-up densities, Mus musculus domesticus, optimal foraging, Pseudomys gracilicaudatus, Pseudonaja textilis, snakes
Funders: James Cook University, Biosecurity Queensland, Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF), Northern Gulf Resource Managment Group, Professor CR Johnson
Date Deposited: 11 Jan 2017 07:32
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0608 Zoology > 060801 Animal Behaviour @ 100%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960811 Sparseland, Permanent Grassland and Arid Zone Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity @ 100%
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