Avoidance of feeding opportunities by the whelk Buccinanops globulosum in the presence of damaged conspecifics
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Feeding decisions under predation risk can be a key in the life of scavenger organisms, and tuned recognition of predation alarm cues and flexibility in the response are fundamental. The effect of injured conspecifics on the response behavior of the whelk Buccinanops globulosum to feeding opportunities was experimentally evaluated in a Patagonian Bay (40°45′S, 64°56′W, Argentina) in September 2010. The effect of sex, size, body condition, or starvation on anti-predatory behavior was assessed. The number of B. globulosum feeding on carrion was reduced by half when damaged conspecifics were present. Smaller, lighter, and starved individuals responded less to the presence of damaged conspecifics. These results indicate that, under natural conditions, feeding avoidance after detecting damaged conspecifics is a common and important anti-predatory strategy of B. globulosum and show that morphology and starvation are significant factors in the context of the trade-off between feeding and avoiding predation risk.
KeywordsPredation Risk Shell Length Shell Width Shell Weight Shell Hardness
We thank Dr. J.P. Grassle and two anonymous referees for valuable comments in the manuscript. This project was supported by grants from the Universidad Nacional de Mar del Plata, the Fundación Antorchas, CONICET and ANPCyT (all granted to O.I.) and PICT CONAE-CONICET 04/2010 (granted to M.N.). M.S.A was supported by a Postdoctoral scholarship from CONICET (Argentina).
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