Evolutionary Ecology

, 13:499 | Cite as

Effects of multiple vertebrate predators on grasshopper habitat selection: trade-offs due to predation risk, foraging, and thermoregulation

  • William C. Pitt


Predation risk can influence habitat use and activity of potential prey. I explored how the risk of predation by vertebrates influenced the behavior of grasshoppers. I monitored the height in vegetation and the frequency of resting, moving, and feeding behaviors of both tethered and free-ranging grasshoppers under exposure to various predators. Grasshoppers protected from birds remained high in the vegetation, while those protected only from small mammals and lizards remained low in the vegetation. Grasshoppers exposed to all predators occupied an intermediate height. Lower positions in the vegetation were associated with cooler thermal conditions, lower feeding rates, and lower food availability. My results are consistent with the hypothesis that grasshoppers utilize different microhabitats to balance the trade-off between reducing mortality from predators and experiencing greater food availability, and warmer conditions.

behavior birds grasshoppers habitat selection lizards Minnesota predation risk 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • William C. Pitt
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, and Ecology CenterUtah State UniversityLoganUSA

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