Behavioural correlations across multiple stages of the antipredator response: do animals that escape sooner hide longer?

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From: Animal Behaviour(Vol. 185)
Publisher: Elsevier B.V.
Document Type: Report; Brief article
Length: 391 words

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Abstract :

Keywords antipredator behaviour; behavioural correlation; California ground squirrel; flight initiation distance; repeatability; risk sensitivity Highlights * Prey face trade-offs across multiple stages of the antipredator response. * We explore repeatability of antipredator responses and correlations between stages. * Human activity influenced some, but not all, stages of the antipredator response. * Multiple stages of the response were repeatable and highly correlated. * Our study offers insights into links between animal behaviour, humans and ecology. A fundamental assumption in predator--prey ecology is that prey responses comprise two main stages: escape when attack occurs or appears imminent and avoid the threat by seeking refuge until it has passed. While numerous studies have examined either initial prey responses to an approaching predator (flight initiation distance, FID), or subsequent hiding behaviour (e.g. latency to resume activity), to our knowledge, no previous studies have repeatedly tested multiple individuals in nature to quantify whether initial escape tendencies, behaviour during the escape and latency to resume activity are repeatable, and whether these stages of the antipredator response are correlated. The goal of this study was to explore how consistent spatial differences in rates of human activity shape risk-sensitive behaviour throughout multiple steps of the antipredator response (to humans) in California ground squirrels, Otospermophilus beecheyi, tested in various group sizes and environmental contexts across time. Our study provides the first example showing that, as predicted: FIDs, latencies to resume activity and other post-FID aspects of prey responses were repeatable and positively correlated at the among-individual level. This correlation is ecologically important in that it provides an underlying mechanism for a trade-off involving not only the cost versus benefit of early versus late escape, or early versus late emergence from refuge, but for a trade-off based on variation in fearfulness expressed across stages. Furthermore, we found that human activity influenced some, but not all, stages of the antipredator response. Author Affiliation: (a) Department of Environmental Science & Policy, University of California, Davis, CA, U.S.A. (b) School of Biological Sciences, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia (c) Department of Biology, Mills College, Oakland, CA, U.S.A. * Corresponding author. Article History: Received 15 June 2021; Revised 11 August 2021; Accepted 22 October 2021 (miscellaneous) MS. number: A21-00377 (footnote)1 marcus.michelangeli@gmail.com (footnote)2 ep812@husd.k12.ca.us (footnote)3 asih@ucdavis.edu (footnote)4 jesmith@mills.edu Byline: Chelsea A. Ortiz-Jimenez [cheortiz@ucdavis.edu] (a,*), Marcus Michelangeli (b,1), Erika Pendleton (c,2), Andrew Sih (a,3), Jennifer E. Smith (c,4)

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A695208885