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Animal‐borne video from a sea turtle reveals novel anti‐predator behaviors

Hounslow, J.L., Jewell, O.J.D., Fossette, S., Whiting, S., Tucker, A.D., Richardson, A., Edwards, D. and Gleiss, A.C. (2021) Animal‐borne video from a sea turtle reveals novel anti‐predator behaviors. Ecology . Early View.

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Predation is a primary selection pressure contributing to both the morphological and behavioral adaptations of organisms (Brodie 1983, Lima and Dill 1990). However, studying the anti‐predator behaviors of aquatic taxa such as sea turtles is currently limited by the difficulty of observing the natural behaviors of free‐ranging individuals at sea (Heithaus et al. 2008). Using an Animal‐borne Video and Environmental Data‐collection (AVED) biologging device, we captured a predatory interaction between a species of sea turtle, the flatback turtle (Natator depressus) and a tiger shark (Galeocerdo cuvier). This interaction occurred at Roebuck Bay, Western Australia, where we are studying the foraging ecology of flatback turtles. Given that tiger sharks are a major predator of sea turtles (Witzell 1987), this interaction was not entirely unforeseen. However, here the shark’s predatory attempt was countered by the turtle lunging multiple times toward the shark attempting to bite its attacker (Fig. 1 and video linked in Data Availability). Our unique vantage point from the perspective of the study animal led to this novel observation of behavior that might have otherwise been missed.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): College of Science, Health, Engineering and Education
Publisher: Ecological Society of America
Copyright: © 2020 by the Ecological Society of America
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