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Runners and fighters: clutch effects and body size drive innate antipredator behaviour in hatchling lizards

Runners and fighters: clutch effects and body size drive innate antipredator behaviour in... Innate antipredator responses are integral for survival in many species, particularly those which lack parental care. Antipredator responses include both active (fight or flight) and passive behaviours (immobility). As the success of antipredator responses directly relates to survival and fitness, investigating the drivers that explain variance in these traits is key to understanding how predation shapes the instinctive behaviour of animals. We quantified innate antipredator behaviour of hatchling Australian water dragons (Intellagama lesueurii) immediately after hatching using a model snake to simulate a series of attacks, and scored their behaviour using a fight or flight index. Then we explored which factors were related to dragon antipredator behaviour, such as habitat disturbance, origin population, morphology, and parental genetic effects and phenotype (clutch effects). We developed multiple hypotheses and used model selection to determine which factors drive variation in hatchling antipredator behaviour. Clutch effects explained a significant proportion of variation in innate antipredator responses, suggesting a heritable component. We also found an effect of body size on innate antipredator behaviour: larger hatchlings were more prone to flight behaviour (e.g. short-distance runs and long-distance sprinting), while smaller individuals were more prone to standing their ground and being aggressive (e.g. throat puffing, mouth http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology Springer Journals

Runners and fighters: clutch effects and body size drive innate antipredator behaviour in hatchling lizards

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Publisher
Springer Journals
Copyright
Copyright © 2018 by Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature
Subject
Life Sciences; Behavioral Sciences; Zoology; Animal Ecology
ISSN
0340-5443
eISSN
1432-0762
DOI
10.1007/s00265-018-2505-7
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Innate antipredator responses are integral for survival in many species, particularly those which lack parental care. Antipredator responses include both active (fight or flight) and passive behaviours (immobility). As the success of antipredator responses directly relates to survival and fitness, investigating the drivers that explain variance in these traits is key to understanding how predation shapes the instinctive behaviour of animals. We quantified innate antipredator behaviour of hatchling Australian water dragons (Intellagama lesueurii) immediately after hatching using a model snake to simulate a series of attacks, and scored their behaviour using a fight or flight index. Then we explored which factors were related to dragon antipredator behaviour, such as habitat disturbance, origin population, morphology, and parental genetic effects and phenotype (clutch effects). We developed multiple hypotheses and used model selection to determine which factors drive variation in hatchling antipredator behaviour. Clutch effects explained a significant proportion of variation in innate antipredator responses, suggesting a heritable component. We also found an effect of body size on innate antipredator behaviour: larger hatchlings were more prone to flight behaviour (e.g. short-distance runs and long-distance sprinting), while smaller individuals were more prone to standing their ground and being aggressive (e.g. throat puffing, mouth

Journal

Behavioral Ecology and SociobiologySpringer Journals

Published: May 28, 2018

References