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Fisheries Behavioral Ecology - Abstracts

Boersma K.S., Ryer C.H., Hurst T.P., S.S. Heppel. 2008. Influences of divergent behavioral strategies upon risk allocation in juvenile flatfishess. Behav. Ecol. Sociobiol. 62:1959-1968.


Animals balance feeding and anti-predator behaviors at various temporal scales. When risk is infrequent or brief, prey can postpone feeding in the short term and temporally allocate feeding behavior to less risky periods. If risk is frequent or lengthy, however, prey must eventually resume feeding to avoid fitness consequences. Species may exhibit different behavioral strategies, depending on the fitness tradeoffs that exist in their environment or across their life histories. North Pacific flatfishes that share juvenile rearing habitat exhibit a variety of responses to predation risk, but their response to risk frequency has not been examined. We observed the feeding and anti-predator behaviors of young-of-the-year English sole (Parophrys vetulus), northern rock sole (Lepidopsetta polyxystra), and Pacific halibut (Hippoglossus stenolepis)—three species that exhibit divergent anti-predator strategies—following exposure to three levels of predation risk: no risk, infrequent (two exposures/day), and frequent (five exposures/day). The English sole responded to the frequent risk treatment with higher feeding rates than during infrequent risk, following a pattern of behavioral response that is predicted by the risk allocation hypothesis; rock sole and halibut did not follow the predicted pattern, but this may be due to the limited range of treatments. Our observations of unique anti-predator strategies, along with differences in foraging and speciesspecific ecologies, suggest divergent trajectories of risk allocation for the three species.



Last updated 11 January, 2011

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