Predicted fitness consequences of threat-sensitive hiding behavior

Elizabeth Rhoades, Daniel T. Blumstein
2007 Behavioral Ecology  
In studies of refuge use as a form of antipredator behavior, where prey hide in response to a predator's approach, factors such as foraging costs and the perceived risk in a predator's approach have been shown to influence the hiding behavior of prey. Because few studies of waiting games have focused on mammals, we studied the hiding behavior of the yellow-bellied marmot (Marmota flaviventris), a ground-dwelling rodent. We tested the prediction that marmots vary hiding time as a function of
more » ... ator approach speed and presence and absence of food outside their refuge and that marmots hide differently depending on their relative condition. We conducted "fast approaches" and "slow approaches" in the presence and absence of extra food and evaluated hiding times. Multiple regression analyses demonstrated that the interaction between the approach speed and the presence and absence of food influenced hiding behavior; body condition had a smaller, but nonsignificant effect. We then developed a state-dependent dynamic model to explore potential fitness consequences of these decisions. The model suggested that the overall survival of a population is substantially reduced when individuals make suboptimal decisions. Our research builds on previous studies, indicating that animals integrate both costs and benefits of hiding when determining their hiding times.
doi:10.1093/beheco/arm064 fatcat:2ph56w4qpndpbds5no5ptdr3ti