Effects of size on predation risk, behavioural response to fish, and cost of reduced feeding in larval Ischnura verticalis (Coenagrionidae: Odonata)
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We used laboratory studies to examine the role of predation risk and cost of anti-predator behaviour in determining the behavioural response of several larval instars of Ischnura verticalis to a fish predator (Lepomis gibbosus). Smaller larvae were less susceptible to fish predation than larger larvae. Smaller larvae depressed movement to a greater degree in the presence of fish than did larger larvae; large larvae were generally less active than small larvae regardless of fish presence. Reduced feeding resulted in smaller larvae suffering more in terms of reduced growth than did large larvae. In general, our results tend to support the hypothesis that individuals that suffer high costs of anti-predator behaviour but little risk of predation may only exhibit anti-predator behaviours in the presence of predators, whereas individuals with a higher risk of predation and a lower cost of anti-predator behaviour may evolve anti-predator mechanisms that are in effect even in the absence of predators.
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