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Am Nat 2017 Mar 01;1893:254-266. doi: 10.1086/690292.
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Behavioral Hypervolumes of Predator Groups and Predator-Predator Interactions Shape Prey Survival Rates and Selection on Prey Behavior.

Pruitt JN , Howell KA , Gladney SJ , Yang Y , Lichtenstein JL , Spicer ME , Echeverri SA , Pinter-Wollman N .

Predator-prey interactions often vary on the basis of the traits of the individual predators and prey involved. Here we examine whether the multidimensional behavioral diversity of predator groups shapes prey mortality rates and selection on prey behavior. We ran individual sea stars (Pisaster ochraceus) through three behavioral assays to characterize individuals'' behavioral phenotype along three axes. We then created groups that varied in the volume of behavioral space that they occupied. We further manipulated the ability of predators to interact with one another physically via the addition of barriers. Prey snails (Chlorostome funebralis) were also run through an assay to evaluate their predator avoidance behavior before their use in mesocosm experiments. We then subjected pools of prey to predator groups and recorded the number of prey consumed and their behavioral phenotypes. We found that predator-predator interactions changed survival selection on prey traits: when predators were prevented from interacting, more fearful snails had higher survival rates, whereas prey fearfulness had no effect on survival when predators were free to interact. We also found that groups of predators that occupied a larger volume in behavioral trait space consumed 35% more prey snails than homogeneous predator groups. Finally, we found that behavioral hypervolumes were better predictors of prey survival rates than single behavioral traits or other multivariate statistics (i.e., principal component analysis). Taken together, predator-predator interactions and multidimensional behavioral diversity determine prey survival rates and selection on prey traits in this system.

PubMed ID: 28221831
PMC ID: PMC5476219
Article link: Am Nat
Grant support: [+]

Genes referenced: LOC100887844 ran

References [+] :
Aplin, Consistent individual differences in the social phenotypes of wild great tits, Parus major. 2015, Pubmed