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Coral reef fish incorporate multiple sources of visual and chemical information to mediate predation risk
journal contributionposted on 20.09.2018, 00:00 by Rachel ManassaRachel Manassa, DL Dixson, MI McCormick, DP Chivers
Behavioural ecology is rife with examples of the way in which prey animals make decisions to alter when, where and how they forage or reproduce in response to variation in predation risk. Given that animals cannot have perfectly accurate information regarding the relative costs and benefits of each decision made, the process of decision making is fraught with uncertainty, particularly given that different sources of information will have different levels of risk associated with them. The consequence of ignoring accurate predator information is potentially death; therefore animals should have evolved the ability to incorporate multiple sources of information, extract important components from each source and respond accordingly. In this study, the anemonefish, Amphiprion percula, responded with antipredator behaviour to damage-released chemical cues from conspecifics and congenerics. However, the visual cues provided by the presence or absence of conspecifics and congenerics dramatically influenced the way in which individuals responded to chemical indicators of risk. Our results suggest that anemonefish have a complex decision-making process that incorporates multiple sources of information each with different degrees of uncertainty.