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生物学
Generalization of predator recognition:Velvet geckos display anti-predator behaviours in response to chemicals from non-dangerous elapid snakes
<正> Many prey species detect chemical cues from predators and modify their behaviours in ways that reduce their risk ofpredation. Theory predicts that prey should modify their anti-predator responses according to the degree of threat posed by thepredator. That is, prey should show the strongest responses to chemicals of highly dangerous prey, but should ignore or respondweakly to chemicals from non-dangerous predators. However, if anti-predator behaviours are not costly, and predators are rarelyencountered, prey may exhibit generalised antipredator behaviours to dangerous and non-dangerous predators. In Australia, mostelapid snakes eat lizards, and are therefore potentially dangerous to lizard prey. Recently, we found that the nocturnal velvetgecko Oedura lesueurii responds to chemicals from dangerous and non-dangerous elapid snakes, suggesting that it displays generalisedanti-predator behaviours to chemicals from elapid snakes. To explore the generality of this result, we videotaped the behaviourof velvet geckos in the presence of chemical cues from two small elapid snakes that rarely consume geckos: the nocturnalgolden-crowned snake Cacophis squamulosus and the diurnal marsh snake Hemiaspis signata. We also videotaped geckos in trialsinvolving unscented cards (controls) and cologne-scented cards (pungency controls). In trials involving Cacophis and Hemiaspischemicals, 50% and 63% of geckos spent long time periods (> 3 min) freezing whilst pressed flat against the substrate, respectively.Over half the geckos tested exhibited anti-predator behaviours (tail waving, tail vibration, running) in response to Cacophis(67%) or Hemiaspis (63%) chemicals. These behaviours were not observed in control or pungency control trials. Our resultssupport the idea that the velvet gecko displays generalised anti-predator responses to chemical cues from elapid snakes.Generalised responses to predator chemicals may be common in prey species that co-occur with multiple, ecologically similar,dangerous predators [Current Zoology 56 (3): 337-342, 2010].
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Current Zoology
2010年03期

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