TITLE

Large body and small brain and group sizes are associated with predator preferences for mammalian prey

AUTHOR(S)
Shultz, Susanne; Finlayson, Laura V.
PUB. DATE
September 2010
SOURCE
Behavioral Ecology;Sep2010, Vol. 21 Issue 5, p1073
SOURCE TYPE
Academic Journal
DOC. TYPE
Article
ABSTRACT
Predation is a major force in shaping biological communities, both over ecological and evolutionary timescales. In response to predation pressure, prey have evolved characteristics designed to mitigate predation pressure. We evaluated predator foraging biases in relation to prey characteristics across 16 vertebrate communities. We show that although predator biases vary, some prey traits are consistently associated with predator diet composition. Within their acceptable prey size range, predators show positive bias toward larger bodied prey, small-brained prey (controlling for body size), small group size, and terrestriality. Thus, whether predator foraging decisions are passive or active, predator choice exerts differential pressure on prey species according to prey characteristics. Predator biases also were positively associated with early age at maturity, supporting the role of mortality in driving life-history characteristics. These results support several theoretical models of predation including its role as a selective force driving evolutionary changes in life history, brain size and sociality, optimal diet theory, and antiapostatic predation. Large body and small brain and group sizes are associated with predator preferences for mammalian prey.
ACCESSION #
53062579

 

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