Predation risk affects foraging behavior and, particularly, the amount of time devoted to the search for food. When exposed to predation risk, food deprived animals should be risk prone and relax behavioral defenses to a wider extent than well fed individuals. To test for this prediction, we used a 2 × 2 factorial design experiment, manipulating both the energetic state (fed vs. fasted) and exposure to an attack-released cue (injured vs. uninjured conspecifics) of common water frog tadpoles (Pelophylax kl. esculentus). Contrary to expectations, food deprivation significantly lowered the activity level of predator-exposed tadpoles. As in this experiment no food resource was added to test containers, energy conserving behavior might have both delayed starvation and lowered the probability of encountering the potential predator. To test for the effect of food availability on behavioral responses, we performed a second experiment, using the same protocol and procedures, except for adding food to all test containers. All tadpoles showed similar levels of activity, while fed tadpoles exposed to alarm cues tended to swim farther from the cage containing the stimulus than in the first experiment. As many anuran larvae can feed on dead conspecifics, prey-borne cues may have been interpreted as the potential presence of both a food source and a predator, fed tadpoles possibly being more confident than fasted tadpoles in their ability to escape predation in case an actual attack occurs.

Is It Worth the Risk? Food Deprivation Effects on Tadpole Anti-Predatory Responses

Gazzola A.;Balestrieri A.;Pellitteri Rosa D.
2018

Abstract

Predation risk affects foraging behavior and, particularly, the amount of time devoted to the search for food. When exposed to predation risk, food deprived animals should be risk prone and relax behavioral defenses to a wider extent than well fed individuals. To test for this prediction, we used a 2 × 2 factorial design experiment, manipulating both the energetic state (fed vs. fasted) and exposure to an attack-released cue (injured vs. uninjured conspecifics) of common water frog tadpoles (Pelophylax kl. esculentus). Contrary to expectations, food deprivation significantly lowered the activity level of predator-exposed tadpoles. As in this experiment no food resource was added to test containers, energy conserving behavior might have both delayed starvation and lowered the probability of encountering the potential predator. To test for the effect of food availability on behavioral responses, we performed a second experiment, using the same protocol and procedures, except for adding food to all test containers. All tadpoles showed similar levels of activity, while fed tadpoles exposed to alarm cues tended to swim farther from the cage containing the stimulus than in the first experiment. As many anuran larvae can feed on dead conspecifics, prey-borne cues may have been interpreted as the potential presence of both a food source and a predator, fed tadpoles possibly being more confident than fasted tadpoles in their ability to escape predation in case an actual attack occurs.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11571/1367435
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