Is one defence enough?: Disentangling the relative importance of morphological and behavioural predator-induced defences
2016 (English)In: Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, ISSN 0340-5443, E-ISSN 1432-0762, Vol. 70, no 2, 237-246 p.Article in journal (Refereed) PublishedText
Many organisms show predator-induced behavioural and morphological phenotypic plasticity. These defence mechanisms are often expressed simultaneously. To estimate the relative importance of these two defences, we conducted a laboratory experiment using tadpoles of the common frog (Rana temporaria) as prey and Aeshna dragonfly larvae as predators. We first raised tadpoles in the presence and absence of caged predators to induce differences in defensive morphology, and then conducted free ranging predator trials in environments that were either with or without the presence of predation cues to induce differences in defensive behaviour. This 2 x 2 design allowed us to separate the effects of inducible morphology from inducible behaviour. Caged predators induced deeper bodies and tailfins and reduced activity levels in tadpoles. The time to first capture was shortest in tadpoles without morphological or behavioural defences. Tadpoles with a behavioural defence had a significantly longer time to first capture. Tadpoles with only antipredator morphology tended to have a longer time to first capture as compared to those without any induced defences. This treatment also had a higher number of injured tadpoles as compared to other treatments, suggesting that inducible morphology facilitates predator escape due to the 'lure effect'. However, tadpoles with both behavioural and morphological defences did not have a longer time to first capture as compared to tadpoles with only morphological or behavioural induced defences. Our results suggest that both behavioural and morphological antipredator responses contribute to reduced capture efficiency by predators, but their simultaneous expression did not have any additive effect to the time of first capture and survival, and that the morphology response is most effective when tadpoles are active.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. Vol. 70, no 2, 237-246 p.
Morphological defence, Phenotypic plasticity, Antipredator behaviour, Rana temporaria
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-277774DOI: 10.1007/s00265-015-2040-8ISI: 000368633900002OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-277774DiVA: diva2:905844
FunderSwedish Research Council