Les hommes ont oublié cette vérité. Mais tu ne dois pas l'oublier, dit le renard. Tu deviens responsable pour toujours de ce que tu as apprivoisé.
Le Petit Prince, chap. 21

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Evolution of antipredator behavior in an island lizard species: the sum of all fears?

Brock, K. M., Bednekoff, P. A., Pafilis, P., & Foufopoulos, J. (2014). Evolution of antipredator behavior in an island lizard species, Podarcis erhardii (Reptilia: Lacertidae): the sum of all fears?. Evolution.

Organisms generally have many defenses against predation yet may lack effective defenses if from populations without predators. Evolutionary theory predicts that ‘costly’ antipredator behaviors will be selected against when predation risk diminishes. We examined antipredator behaviors in Aegean wall lizards, Podarcis erhardii, across an archipelago of land-bridge islands that vary in predator diversity and period of isolation. We examined two defenses, flight initiation distance and tail autotomy. Flight initiation distance generally decreased with declining predator diversity. All predator types had distinctive effects on flight initiation distance with mammals and birds having the largest estimated effects. Rates of autotomy observed in the field were highest on predator-free islands yet laboratory-induced autotomy increased linearly with overall predator diversity. Against expectation from previous work, tail autotomy was not explained solely by the presence of vipers. Analyses of populations directly isolated from rich predator communities revealed that flight initiation distance decreased with increased duration of isolation in addition to the effects of current predator diversity, whereas tail autotomy could be explained simply by current predator diversity. Although selection against costly defenses should depend on time with reduced threats, different defenses may diminish along different trajectories even within the same predator-prey system.

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