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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 472:169-183 (2013)  -  DOI:

Effects of predation risk on survival, behaviour and morphological traits of small juveniles of Concholepas concholepas (loco)

Patricio H. Manríquez1,*, María Elisa Jara1, Tania Opitz1, Juan Carlos Castilla2, Nelson A. Lagos3

1Instituto de Ciencias Marinas y Limnológicas, Laboratorio Costero de Recursos Acuáticos de Calfuco, Facultad de Ciencias, Universidad Austral de Chile, Casilla 567, Valdivia, Chile
2Centro de Conservación Marina, Estación Costera de Investigaciones Marinas. Facultad de Ciencias Biológicas, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Casilla 114−D, Santiago, Chile
3Centro de Investigación en Ciencias Ambientales, Facultad de Ciencias, Universidad Santo Tomás, Ejercito 146, Chile

ABSTRACT: In marine systems, water-borne chemical cues may induce anti-predator responses that influence not only performance and survival of the prey, but also population dynamics and species interaction. The early life stages of marine species with complex life-cycles settle into unpredictable habitats, and therefore may be expected to exploit reliable chemical cues emanating from both prey and predators in order to promote plastic responses to the local conditions. We compared the behavioural responses, survival and growth of early ontogenetic stages of Concholepas concholepas exposed to the risk of predation by natural predators that commonly co-occur with it in the intertidal: the crabs Homalaspis plana and Acanthocyclus hassleri and the asteroid Heliaster helianthus. Y-maze experiments indicated that C. concholepas use water-borne cues both to detect prey and deploy strong anti-predator behaviour. Our results indicate lower survival rates of small specimens of C. concholepas when they were maintained in the direct presence of predators rather than under control conditions. Similar results and growth inhibition were found with C. concholepas exposed to seawater in which the predators had been maintained. Quantification of feeding activity and shell thickness in response to predation risk indicated lower prey consumption and thicker shells when C. concholepas were exposed to crab odours compared to control conditions. Our results suggest that this behavioural receptiveness to water-borne cues may be responsible, in part, for the early plasticity of species with complex life-cycles such C. concholepas under natural conditions, facilitating predator avoidance and thus enhancing survival.

KEY WORDS: Escaping behaviour · Foraging · Growth · Survival · Water-borne cues · Risk‑sensitive

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Cite this article as: Manríquez PH, Jara ME, Opitz T, Castilla JC, Lagos NA (2013) Effects of predation risk on survival, behaviour and morphological traits of small juveniles of Concholepas concholepas (loco). Mar Ecol Prog Ser 472:169-183.

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