Do individual differences in behavior influence wild rodents more than predation risk?

Teigan Cremona, Valentina S A Mella, J Webb, Matthew Crowther

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

    Abstract

    Prey can enhance their survival by eliciting an appropriate response to predators. Theoretically, prey should distinguish odors of predators and nonpredators. The manifestation of defensive antipredator behaviors has been extensively researched in domestic species (i.e., the relationship between laboratory-bred rats and domestic cats). However, little is known about the expression of these behaviors in wild rodents. Studies have so far focused on quantitative assessments of cost-benefit trade-offs or giving-up densities. We examined the expression of finescale defensive behaviors in Arnhem rock rats (Zyzomys maini) in response to fecal cues from 2 predators (the northern quoll [Dasyurus hallucatus] and the dingo [Canis dingo]), a nonpredator (the short-eared rock-wallaby [Petrogale brachyotis]), and a control (water). We adapted a predator-odor avoidance apparatus that has been widely used for domestic rodent studies to film the behavior of wild rock rats in a captive environment. Rock rats did not alter their behavior in the presence of odors of nonpredators, predators, or controls. In the current study, individual rock rats behaved in a consistent manner across time, and we identified 3 individually consistent behaviors which may suggest the existence of personality traits in this species. We suggest that these individual differences may influence wild rock rat behavior more than predation risk. These differences should therefore be taken into consideration when investigating behavioral responses to predators in wild populations. � 2015 American Society of Mammalogists.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1337-1343
    Number of pages7
    JournalJournal of Mammalogy
    Volume96
    Issue number6
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2015

    Fingerprint

    predation risk
    Individuality
    rodent
    Rodentia
    rodents
    rocks
    predation
    predators
    predator
    rats
    dingoes
    Macropodidae
    defensive behavior
    rock
    odor
    odors
    Petrogale
    Dasyurus
    domestic species
    Cost-Benefit Analysis

    Cite this

    Cremona, Teigan ; Mella, Valentina S A ; Webb, J ; Crowther, Matthew. / Do individual differences in behavior influence wild rodents more than predation risk?. In: Journal of Mammalogy. 2015 ; Vol. 96, No. 6. pp. 1337-1343.
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    title = "Do individual differences in behavior influence wild rodents more than predation risk?",
    abstract = "Prey can enhance their survival by eliciting an appropriate response to predators. Theoretically, prey should distinguish odors of predators and nonpredators. The manifestation of defensive antipredator behaviors has been extensively researched in domestic species (i.e., the relationship between laboratory-bred rats and domestic cats). However, little is known about the expression of these behaviors in wild rodents. Studies have so far focused on quantitative assessments of cost-benefit trade-offs or giving-up densities. We examined the expression of finescale defensive behaviors in Arnhem rock rats (Zyzomys maini) in response to fecal cues from 2 predators (the northern quoll [Dasyurus hallucatus] and the dingo [Canis dingo]), a nonpredator (the short-eared rock-wallaby [Petrogale brachyotis]), and a control (water). We adapted a predator-odor avoidance apparatus that has been widely used for domestic rodent studies to film the behavior of wild rock rats in a captive environment. Rock rats did not alter their behavior in the presence of odors of nonpredators, predators, or controls. In the current study, individual rock rats behaved in a consistent manner across time, and we identified 3 individually consistent behaviors which may suggest the existence of personality traits in this species. We suggest that these individual differences may influence wild rock rat behavior more than predation risk. These differences should therefore be taken into consideration when investigating behavioral responses to predators in wild populations. � 2015 American Society of Mammalogists.",
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    Do individual differences in behavior influence wild rodents more than predation risk? / Cremona, Teigan; Mella, Valentina S A; Webb, J; Crowther, Matthew.

    In: Journal of Mammalogy, Vol. 96, No. 6, 2015, p. 1337-1343.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

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    T1 - Do individual differences in behavior influence wild rodents more than predation risk?

    AU - Cremona, Teigan

    AU - Mella, Valentina S A

    AU - Webb, J

    AU - Crowther, Matthew

    PY - 2015

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    N2 - Prey can enhance their survival by eliciting an appropriate response to predators. Theoretically, prey should distinguish odors of predators and nonpredators. The manifestation of defensive antipredator behaviors has been extensively researched in domestic species (i.e., the relationship between laboratory-bred rats and domestic cats). However, little is known about the expression of these behaviors in wild rodents. Studies have so far focused on quantitative assessments of cost-benefit trade-offs or giving-up densities. We examined the expression of finescale defensive behaviors in Arnhem rock rats (Zyzomys maini) in response to fecal cues from 2 predators (the northern quoll [Dasyurus hallucatus] and the dingo [Canis dingo]), a nonpredator (the short-eared rock-wallaby [Petrogale brachyotis]), and a control (water). We adapted a predator-odor avoidance apparatus that has been widely used for domestic rodent studies to film the behavior of wild rock rats in a captive environment. Rock rats did not alter their behavior in the presence of odors of nonpredators, predators, or controls. In the current study, individual rock rats behaved in a consistent manner across time, and we identified 3 individually consistent behaviors which may suggest the existence of personality traits in this species. We suggest that these individual differences may influence wild rock rat behavior more than predation risk. These differences should therefore be taken into consideration when investigating behavioral responses to predators in wild populations. � 2015 American Society of Mammalogists.

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    KW - Felis catus

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