TitlePredator avoidance and alarm-response behaviour in kin-discriminating tadpoles (Rana cascadae)
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication1995
AuthorsHokit, DG, Blaustein, AR
Type of ArticleJournal Article

When captured by predators, the tadpoles of some species of frogs and toads may release an alarm substance that alters the behaviour of conspecifics. Such 'alarm response' behaviour has been proposed as a potential mechanism whereby related conspecifics may 'warn' relatives of a predator's presence and thus, improve their inclusive fitness. We examined predator avoidance and alarm response behaviour in tadpoles of the Cascades frog (Rana cascadae) and tested whether such behaviour is influenced by kinship factors. Tadpoles reduced activity when in the presence of a predatory newt (Taricha granulosa). Individuals in sibling groups were more active than both solitary tadpoles and individuals in mixed groups of siblings and nonsiblings. However, we found no evidence of an alarm response in R. cascadae. Behaviour of tadpoles in groups exposed only to predators was nor different from that of tadpoles in groups exposed to predators plus crushed conspecifics. Tadpoles in groups exposed to crushed tadpoles were as active as tadpoles in groups exposed to water controls, and some rest individuals fed upon the dead tadpoles. Thus, while R, cascadae tadpoles reduce activity in response to newt predators, crushed tadpoles appear to initiate a feeding response rather than an alarm response as has been previously proposed.

URL<Go to ISI>://WOS:A1995TL26100002