Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/2440/117413
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Type: Journal article
Title: Prey naïveté and the anti-predator responses of a vulnerable marsupial prey to known and novel predators
Other Titles: Prey naivete and the anti-predator responses of a vulnerable marsupial prey to known and novel predators
Author: Saxon-Mills, E.C.
Moseby, K.
Blumstein, D.T.
Letnic, M.
Citation: Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, 2018; 72(9):151-1-151-10
Publisher: Springer
Issue Date: 2018
ISSN: 0340-5443
1432-0762
Statement of
Responsibility: 
Eleanor C. Saxon-Mills, Katherine Moseby, Daniel T. Blumstein, Mike Letnic
Abstract: Prey may recognize and respond to predatory cues based on a period of co-evolution or life experience with a predator. When faced with a novel predator, prey may be naïve to the threat posed and/or unable to respond effectively, making them highly susceptible to predation. Burrowing bettongs (Bettongia lesueur) are one such species whose naïveté towards introduced predators has contributed to their extinction from mainland Australia. Here, we asked whether bettongs that were predator-naïve and bettongs which had been exposed to feral cats (Felis catus) for up to 2 years could discriminate between odors of a predator with which they shared no evolutionary history (feral cats), a predator with which they share a deep evolutionary history (Tasmanian devil—Sarcophilus harrisii), a novel herbivore (guinea pig—Cavia porcellus), and procedural control (a towel moistened with deionized water). We deployed scents at foraging trays and filmed bettongs’ behavior at the trays. Predator-naïve bettongs’ latency to approach foraging trays and behavior did not differ between scents. Cat-exposed bettongs increased their latency to approach in the presence of animal scents compared with control, and approached predatory scents slowly and cautiously more often than herbivore and procedural control scents. Taken together, these results suggest that bettongs have not retained anti-predator responses to Tasmanian devils after 8000 years of isolation from mammalian predators but nevertheless show that bettongs exposed to predators are more wary and may be able to generalize predator response using olfactory cues.
Keywords: Prey naïveté; anti-predator responses; olfactory recognition; generalization; acquired predator recognition
Rights: © Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018.
RMID: 0030097302
DOI: 10.1007/s00265-018-2568-5
Appears in Collections:Zoology publications

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