TitleJuvenile western toads, Bufo boreas, avoid chemical cues of snakes fed juvenile, but not larval, conspecifics
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2000
AuthorsBelden, LK, Wildy, EL, Hatch, AC, Blaustein, AR
JournalAnimal Behaviour
Type of ArticleJournal Article

Previous investigations have demonstrated the importance of predator diet in chemically mediated antipredator behaviour. However, there are few data on responses to life-stage-specific predator diets, which could be important for animals like amphibians that undergo metamorphosis and must respond to different suites of predators at different life-history stages. In laboratory choice tests, we investigated the chemically mediated avoidance response of juvenile western toads, Bufo boreas, to four different chemical stimuli: (1) live conspecific juveniles; (2) live earthworms; (3) snakes fed juvenile conspecifics; and (4) snakes fed larval conspecifics (tadpoles). Juvenile toads avoided chemical cues from snakes that had eaten juvenile conspecifics, but did not respond to the other three stimuli, including chemical cues from snakes fed larval conspecifics. In addition, the response to cues from snakes fed juveniles differed significantly from that of snakes fed larvae. To our knowledge, this is the first study to demonstrate the importance of diet in predator avoidance of juvenile anurans and the ability of juvenile toads to distinguish between chemical cues from predators that have consumed larval versus juvenile conspecifics. (C) 2000 The Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour.

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