Effects of body size, body condition, and breeding state on responses to alarm cues by fathead minnows

Pollock, M. S.; Pollock, R. J.; Chivers, D. P.
September 2006
Canadian Journal of Zoology;Sep2006, Vol. 84 Issue 9, p1351
Academic Journal
There is often considerable variation in the intensity of behavioural responses of prey to predation cues. The purpose of the current study was to determine the role of standard length (a correlate of age), body condition (a measure of energy reserves, calculated by mass/(standard length)3), and gonadosomatic index (state of reproduction, calculated by gonad mass / body mass) in the responses of fathead minnows (Pimephales promelas Rafinesque, 1820) to damage-release alarm cues. Our data indicate that during the nonbreeding season longer/older minnows exhibited significantly increased antipredator responses compared with younger individuals. However, the significance of these correlations ceased during the breeding season. Data from the same trials failed to reveal a significant correlation between the intensity of antipredator behaviour and the body condition before or during the breeding season; the intensity of a minnow’s antipredator response was also not significantly correlated with its gonadosomatic index. These data are important in understanding factors affecting antipredator behaviour of minnows, as well as aiding researchers in determining potential time of year confounds in future studies.


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