Better the devil you know? How familiarity and kinship affect prey responses to disturbance cues

Bairos-Novak, Kevin R., Crane, Adam L., Chivers, Douglas P., and Ferrari, Maud C.O. (2019) Better the devil you know? How familiarity and kinship affect prey responses to disturbance cues. Behavioral Ecology, 30 (2). pp. 446-454.

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Prey can greatly improve their odds of surviving predator encounters by eavesdropping on conspecific risk cues, but the reliability of these cues depends on both previous accuracy as well as the cue's relevance. During a predator chase, aquatic prey release chemical disturbance cues that may vary in their reliability depending on the individuals receiving them. Thus, prey may rely differentially on disturbance cues from familiar individuals (due to previous experience) or from kin (due to their relatedness). We examined the responses of wood frog (Lithobates sylvaticus) tadpoles to disturbance cues from familiar versus unfamiliar conspecifics and kin versus non-kin. In accordance with our prediction, tadpoles responded differently to disturbance cues from familiar versus unfamiliar conspecifics. Tadpoles receiving disturbance cues from unfamiliar individuals displayed a fright response, whereas tadpoles ignored disturbance cues from familiar individuals. Tadpoles may have habituated to familiar cues since they were unaccompanied by a true threat, hence rendering these cues functionally unreliable. Tadpoles responded similarly to disturbance cues from related and unrelated individuals suggesting they were similarly reliable and this mirrors the matching reliability of prey responses to damage-released alarm cues from kin and non-kin. Our findings shed light on a seldom-studied chemical communication system in aquatic prey.

Item ID: 58293
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1465-7279
Keywords: animal communication, antipredator response, cue reliability, predator-prey, wood frog tadpole
Copyright Information: © The Author(s) 2018. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the International Society for Behavioral Ecology.
Funders: Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC)
Projects and Grants: NSERC Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship, NSERC Canada Graduate Scholarship – Master’s
Date Deposited: 15 May 2019 07:54
FoR Codes: 31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3109 Zoology > 310907 Animal physiological ecology @ 100%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960899 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity of Environments not elsewhere classified @ 100%
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