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Physiol Behav. 2015 Feb;139:145-9. doi: 10.1016/j.physbeh.2014.11.013. Epub 2014 Nov 8.

Behavioral and physiological antipredator responses of the San Marcos salamander, Eurycea nana.

Author information

1
Department of Biology, Population and Conservation Biology Program, Texas State University, 601 University Drive, San Marcos, TX 78666, USA. Electronic address: drew.davis@usd.edu.
2
Department of Biology, Population and Conservation Biology Program, Texas State University, 601 University Drive, San Marcos, TX 78666, USA.

Abstract

Exposure to predatory stimuli typically results in the elevation of circulating glucocorticoid levels and a behavioral response of freezing or escape behavior in many prey species. Corticosterone (CORT) is the main glucocorticoid in amphibians and is known to be important in modulating many behaviors and developmental functions. The federally threatened San Marcos salamander, Eurycea nana, decreases activity in response to both native and introduced predatory fish, however, experience may further influence these interactions. To better understand the indirect effects of fish predators on this salamander, we examined both the antipredator behavior and water-borne CORT release rates in response to chemical cues (kairomones) from two fish species that varied in temporal risk of predation: (1) a low encounter frequency predator (largemouth bass, Micropterus salmoides), (2) a high encounter frequency predator (redbreast sunfish, Lepomis auritus), and (3) a blank water control. Salamanders reduced activity (antipredator response) after exposure to both predator treatments, but not to the blank water control, and the response to M. salmoides was significantly stronger than that to L. auritus. The CORT response (post-stimulus/pre-stimulus release rates) did not differ between the blank water control and L. auritus treatments, and both were significantly less than the CORT response to M. salmoides. Overall, E. nana showed a decreased antipredator response and no CORT response towards the high encounter frequency L. auritus as compared to the low encounter frequency M. salmoides. Eurycea nana may mute antipredator and CORT responses to high temporal frequency predators. There was, however, no correlation between CORT release rates and antipredator behavior, which suggests that the presence of predators may be affecting CORT response and behavior independently.

KEYWORDS:

Antipredator behavior; Chemical cues; Corticosterone; Kairomones; Predator–prey interactions; Water-borne hormones

PMID:
25446225
DOI:
10.1016/j.physbeh.2014.11.013
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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