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Balancing the response to predation-the effects of shoal size, predation risk and habituation on behaviour of juvenile perch
Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Department of Ecology and Environmental Sciences.
2014 (English)In: Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, ISSN 0340-5443, E-ISSN 1432-0762, Vol. 68, no 6, 989-998 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Group size, predation risk and habituation are key drivers of behaviour and evolution in gregarious prey animals. However, the extent to which they interact in shaping behaviour is only partially understood. We analyzed their combined effects on boldness and vigilance behaviour in juvenile perch (Perca fluviatilis) by observing individuals in groups of one, two, three and five faced with four different levels of predation risk in a repeated measures design. The perch showed an asymptotic increase in boldness with increasing group size and the highest per capita vigilance in groups of two. With increasing predation risk, individuals reduced boldness and intensified vigilance. The interaction between group size and predation risk influenced vigilance but not boldness. In this context, individuals in groups of two elevated their vigilance compared to individuals in larger groups only when at higher risk of predation. Further, as only group size, they significantly reduced vigilance at the highest level of risk. With increasing habituation, solitary individuals became considerably bolder. Also, predation risk affected boldness only in the more habituated situation. Hence, repeated measures may be essential to correctly interpret certain relationships in behaviour. Our results suggest that perch may adjust boldness behaviour to group size and predation risk independently. This is rather unexpected since in theory, natural selection would strongly favour an interactive adjustment. Finally, vigilance might be particularly effective in groups of two due to the intense monitoring and detailed response to changing levels of risk.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014. Vol. 68, no 6, 989-998 p.
Keyword [en]
Perca fluviatilis, Group living, Boldness, Vigilance, Predator inspection, Novelty effect
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-90758DOI: 10.1007/s00265-014-1711-1ISI: 000336022700011OAI: diva2:754440
Available from: 2014-10-10 Created: 2014-07-01 Last updated: 2014-10-10Bibliographically approved

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Heynen, Martina
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Department of Ecology and Environmental Sciences
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