Evol Ecol Res 7: 619-631 (2005)     Full PDF if your library subscribes.

Multiple inducible defences against multiple predators in the anuran tadpole, Rana pirica

Osamu Kishida* and Kinya Nishimura

Graduate School of Fisheries Sciences, Hokkaido University, Hakodate 041-8611, Hokkaido, Japan

Author to whom all correspondence should be addressed.
e-mail: kishida@fish.hokudai.ac.jp


Question: What conditions are required for evolution of predator-specific inducible defences?

Hypotheses: (1) Prey organisms distinguish among predators to which they are exposed. (2) Prey individuals with a predator-specific defence must attain higher survivorship than those with a mismatched defensive phenotype.

Organisms: Prey, anuran tadpoles (Rana pirica); biting type predator, dragonfly larvae (Aeshna nigroflava); swallowing type predator, salamander larvae (Hynobius retardatus).

Methods: Rana pirica tadpoles were exposed to the predator signal in close proximity to or remote from the dragonfly larvae or the salamander larvae to determine whether the tadpoles develop predator-specific morphologies and whether they utilize predator-specific signals in the induction process. We conducted predation trials to determine whether the tadpoles with induced phenotypes were more resistant to the attack in the corresponding predator environment.

Results: Rana pirica tadpoles developed predator-specific morphologies in response to exposure to two different types of predator. The tadpoles discriminated between the predators – that is, different signals were required to develop the specific phenotypes in the induction process. The survival rate of tadpoles of specific phenotypes was higher than that of tadpoles of mismatched or non-induced phenotypes when exposed to predation by the corresponding predators.

Keywords: cue, induced defence, morphology, phenotypic plasticity, polymorphism.

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