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Intrinsic factors are relatively more important than habitat features in modulating risk perception in a tropical lizard

Bhave, Rachana and Deodhar, Shreekant and Isvaran, Kavita (2017) Intrinsic factors are relatively more important than habitat features in modulating risk perception in a tropical lizard. In: BEHAVIORAL ECOLOGY AND SOCIOBIOLOGY, 71 (10).

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Official URL: http://doi.org/10.1007/s00265-017-2372-7


Anti-predator responses in animals are dynamic and depend on multiple factors. However, most of our understanding about animal escape responses comes from studies which examine only a small set of factors at a time and are done over a short period of animal life spans. This limits our understanding of the dynamic nature of animal escape behaviour and the relative importance of individual factors in determining their escape behaviour. We used a repeated-measures study design to assess the anti-predator response of a wild population of a sexually dimorphic tropical lizard, Psammophilus dorsalis. We followed marked individuals throughout their breeding lifespan, repeatedly assayed their escape response and measured representative intrinsic and extrinsic factors that could modulate their escape response. Our findings suggest that intrinsic factors, such as sex and body size, influenced escape response relatively more than extrinsic factors did, such as distance to refuge and perch height. Although individual variables influenced escape behaviour, in a direction mostly consistent with predictions from optimal escape theory, the interaction between factors led to novel insights into how animals dynamically evaluate multiple and changing costs throughout their lifetime to evade predation. Significance statement Fleeing from a potential predator is crucial to animals and depends on different factors, as there are various costs to escaping. Although several studies in the past have evaluated the role of various factors in determining escape response, the relative importance of factors and how it changes across the lifetime of individuals are not clear. By assessing individuals repeatedly over a substantial part of their lifespan, we could gain insight into how escape response changes as associated factors, intrinsic or extrinsic, change for an individual over time. This approach provided us a more robust and accurate representation of the dynamic nature of escape decisions. We also demonstrate that when multiple factors are considered simultaneously, their relative importance in determining timing of escape can considerably differ from theoretical predictions.

Item Type: Journal Article
Additional Information: Copy right for this article belongs to the SPRINGER, 233 SPRING ST, NEW YORK, NY 10013 USA
Department/Centre: Division of Biological Sciences > Centre for Ecological Sciences
Date Deposited: 13 Oct 2017 04:53
Last Modified: 13 Oct 2017 04:53
URI: http://eprints.iisc.ac.in/id/eprint/58009

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