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Sex, intimidation and severed limbs: the effect of simulated predator attack and limb autotomy on calling and emergence behaviour in the field cricket Gryllus bimaculatus

Bateman, P.W. and Fleming, P.A. (2006) Sex, intimidation and severed limbs: the effect of simulated predator attack and limb autotomy on calling and emergence behaviour in the field cricket Gryllus bimaculatus. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, 59 (5). pp. 674-681.

Link to Published Version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00265-005-0096-6
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Abstract

Crickets can autotomize a limb in order to evade predation; however, this autotomy compromises their escape speed and, therefore, their ability to avoid subsequent predation events. We recorded two measures of predator-avoidance behaviour in field crickets (Gryllus bimaculatus) exposed to varying levels of predation threat, with the most extreme level leading to autotomy of a limb. Our first measure of caution was time to emergence from cover, which was affected by perceived predation treatment, with both autotomized males and females being significantly more cautious than intact individuals. For males (but not females), the presence of a calling conspecific encouraged earlier emergence. Our second measure of caution was alteration of male calling behaviour. Autotomized males remained silent for significantly longer time after disturbance than intact males, but there was no difference in call rate once they had resumed calling, suggesting that behavioural changes were not merely a result of injury response but a controlled modification of behaviour as a result of autotomy. These data suggest that autotomy in field crickets results in altered calling behaviour, which was not significantly altered with different acoustic environments.

Publication Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences
Publisher: Springer-Verlag
Copyright: © Springer-Verlag 2005.
URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/4715
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