Effects of diel cycle and turbidity on antipredator response to multiple cues of predators by Eurycea nana and Eurycea sosorum
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Behavioral interactions between predators and prey are a significant component of balance in ecological communities. Prey must be able detect, recognize, and respond to predators to decrease threat of predation. However, investment in antipredator behavior diverts costly resources away from other behaviors such as foraging and mating. Therefore, it is expected that antipredator behavior is threat sensitive and that prey invest an optimal amount of time and energy in antipredator behavior, minimizing energetic costs of behavior. This optimum is not constant through time because it is dependent on threat of predation, which varies throughout the diel cycle of the predator. Therefore, we studied the effect of the diel cycle on the antipredator behavior of the San Marcos salamander, Eurycea nana to a nocturnal and a diurnal predator. We found that diel cycle of predators does not influence antipredator behavior, suggesting threat-sensitive behavior is uncoupled from the diel cycle of predators. The ability of prey to respond optimally to predators is dependent on the ability of prey to detect predators, and multimodal cues are often used to increase detection and recognition of predators. Use of multimodal cues can be affected by the sensory environment, and increased turbidity is an increasingly common problem in aquatic systems, which can have effects on predator- prey interactions. We studied the use of multimodal cues in the Barton Springs salamander, Eurycea sosorum, and the effects of turbidity on antipredator behavior in response to a predator and non-predator. We found that E. sosorum uses chemical cues, but not visual cues, to detect predators, and that turbidity decreases antipredator behavior.