Predator prey interactions are a key part of ecosystem function, and non-consumptive effects fall under the landscape of fear theory. Under the landscape of fear, the antipredator responses of prey are based on the spatial and temporal distribution of predatory cues in the environment. However, the aversive stimuli (fear) are not the only stimuli prey can utilize when making behavioral decisions. Prey might also be using attractive stimuli that represent safety to guide decision making. Using a novel, orthogonal design, we were able to spatially separate aversive and attractive stimuli to determine if prey are utilizing safety cues to navigate their environment. Crayfish Faxonius rusticus were placed in the center of a behavioral arena. Aversive stimuli of either predatory bass Micropterus salmoides cues or conspecific alarm cues increased along the x-axis of the behavioral arena. Safety cues (shelters) increased along the y-axis by decreasing the number of shelter openings in this direction. Crayfish were allowed two phases to explore the arena: one without the fearful stimuli and one with the stimuli. Linear mixed models were conducted to determine if movement behaviors and habitat utilization were affected by the phase of the trial and the type of aversive stimuli. Crayfish responded more strongly to alarm cues than fear cues, with only alarm cues significantly impacting habitat utilization. When responding to alarm cues, crayfish used safety cues as well as fear cues to relocate themselves within the arena. Based on these results, we argue that crayfish are utilizing a landscape of safety in conjunction with a landscape of fear when navigating their environment.
Running away or running to? Do prey make decisions solely based on the landscape of fear or do they also include stimuli from a landscape of safety?
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- Accepted Manuscript 13 September 2021
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Becky N. MacKay, Tyler C. Wood, Paul A. Moore; Running away or running to? Do prey make decisions solely based on the landscape of fear or do they also include stimuli from a landscape of safety?. J Exp Biol 2021; jeb.242687. doi: https://doi.org/10.1242/jeb.242687
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