Predation risk assessment by green frog (Rana clamitans) tadpoles through chemical cues produced by multiple prey
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- Fraker, M.E. Behav Ecol Sociobiol (2009) 63: 1397. doi:10.1007/s00265-009-0822-6
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Many prey assess predation risk through predator chemical cues. Numerous studies have shown that (1) prey sometimes respond to chemical cues produced by heterospecifics and (2) that many species are capable of associative learning. This study extends this research by focusing on predation risk assessment and antipredator behavior in environments containing chemical cues produced by multiple prey species. The results show that green frog (Rana clamitans) tadpoles (1) assess risk from the chemical cue produced during predation by a heterospecific (gray tree frog, Hyla versicolor, tadpoles) and (2) can exhibit similarly strong behavioral responses to a mix of conspecific and heterospecific cues compared to conspecific cue alone, depending on their conditioning environment. I then discuss how the prey choice of the predators and the relative abundances of the prey species should influence the informational value of heterospecific cues.