Anti-Predator Behavioral Responses of Mosquito Pupae to Aerial Predation Risk
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Aquatic insects have two potential sources of predation risk: aquatic predators and aerial predators. Our goal was to assess anti-predator responses of Culex pipiens to aerial predation. By simulating predator attacks, we assessed (a) the distance fled in relation to depth and group size, (b) the distribution of individuals at different depths, and (c) the duration of surfacing events to obtain air in scenarios with varying predation risk. Pupae located closer to the surface fled deeper into the water, and the number of conspecifics decreased the distance fled. When the risk of predation increased, more individuals were found deeper in the water column, and the interval between two consecutive surfacing events increased. Culex pipiens shows a trade-off between avoiding aerial predation and maintaining oxygen acquisition, which may be regulated by the need to conserve energy reserves.
KEY WORDS:aerial predation risk anti-predator behavior Culex pupae water depth oxygen consumption resource use
IRP was supported by an I3P Postgraduate Grant from CSIC; EFJ, by the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics (CSULB); and JM, by the MCYT project BOS 2002–00547.
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