Feeding behavior under predatory risk in Ctenomys talarum: nutritional state and recent experience of a predatory event
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Predatory risk is recognized as an important factor that impacts on behavior, distribution, and reproduction of animals. Facing the presence of predators’ cues, preys have developed a series of anti-predatory behaviors that involve trade-offs between costs and benefits. Faced with the clear advantage of reducing the immediate risk of predation, preys are forced to modify their performance in other activities. The most documented of them is undoubtedly the foraging. In the presence of predators or their cues in the environment, a compromise between food and safety arises, so that the prey restricts the time searching for food, limits it to protected sites, or increase the vigilance, thus impacting foraging success and consequently in reproductive performance and long-term survival. However, the influence of several factors, like nutritional condition (fed or food deprived) or predator experience, on preys’ feeding choices has been comparatively less studied. Therefore, the aim of this work was to evaluate Ctenomys talarum’s feeding behavior under the presence of predator cues (cat urine) considering (1) their nutritional condition and (2) a recent experience of a failed predatory event. The results of this work show that tuco-tucos can distinguish cues indicative of the presence of a predator and prefer to feed in areas where predator cues are not present (safe sites). Also, recent predatory experiences influenced foraging decisions, increasing the time without activity previous to a new feeding excursion. In conclusion, these results demonstrate the importance of the perception of predatory risk in the foraging behavior of C. talarum.
KeywordsCtenomys talarum Subterranean rodent Predation risk Foraging behavior
Compliance with ethical standards
In this study, the capture, handling, and maintenance in captivity of all animals were conducted in accordance with the guidelines approved by the American Society of Mammalogists (Sikes et al. 2016) and the current laws of Argentina.
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