Behavioural responses of Mallorcan midwife toad tadpoles to natural and unnatural snake predators

Griffiths, Richard A. and Schley, Laurent and Sharp, Penny E. and Dennis, Jayne L. and Roman, Alvaro (1998) Behavioural responses of Mallorcan midwife toad tadpoles to natural and unnatural snake predators. Animal Behaviour, 55 . pp. 207-214. ISSN 0003-3472. (The full text of this publication is not currently available from this repository. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided)

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The activity levels of Mallorcan midwife toad tadpoles, Alytes muletensis, were compared in two natural torrent pools which differed in their use by predatory viperine snakes, Natrix maura. Activity levels were lower in a pool regularly used by snakes than they were in a snake-free pool, but were reduced in both pools when snakes were experimentally introduced in nylon bags. In the presence of snakes, however, activity was more suppressed in the pool that was usually snake-free. Corresponding reductions in activity were also observed when tadpoles were treated with chemical cues from Mallorcan N. maura in a gravitational flow-through system. However, tadpoles failed to respond to chemical cues from other species of amphibian-eating snakes, or even to those from N. maura collected from a different population in mainland Spain. As none of the snakes used had previously eaten midwife toads, the responses cannot be related to previous diet, and seem to be specific to those N. maura from the island of Mallorca. As viperine snakes were probably introduced to Mallorca about 2000 years ago, the evolution of anti-predator behaviour in midwife toad tadpoles must have occurred relatively recently.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: Q Science > QL Zoology
Divisions: Faculties > Science Technology and Medical Studies > School of Biosciences
Depositing User: R.F. Xu
Date Deposited: 16 Apr 2009 15:29
Last Modified: 06 Jun 2014 14:06
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