Maternal intraguild predation risk affects offspring anti-predator behavior and learning in mites

Author(s)
Michael Seiter, Peter Schausberger
Abstract

Predation risk is a strong selective force shaping prey morphology, life history and behavior. Anti-predator behaviors may be innate, learned or both but little is known about the transgenerational behavioral effects of maternally experienced predation risk. We examined intraguild predation (IGP) risk-induced maternal effects on offspring anti-predator behavior, including learning, in the predatory mite Phytoseiulus persimilis. We exposed predatory mite mothers during egg production to presence or absence of the IG predator Amblyseius andersoni and assessed whether maternal stress affects the anti-predator behavior, including larval learning ability, of their offspring as protonymphs. Protonymphs emerging from stressed or unstressed mothers, and having experienced IGP risk as larvae or not, were subjected to choice situations with and without IG predator traces. Predator-experienced protonymphs from stressed mothers were the least active and acted the boldest in site choice towards predator cues. We argue that the attenuated response of the protonymphs to predator traces alone represents optimized risk management because no immediate risk existed. Such behavioral adjustment could reduce the inherent fitness costs of anti-predator behaviors. Overall, our study suggests that P. persimilis mothers experiencing IGP risk may prime their offspring to behave more optimally in IGP environments.

Organisation(s)
External organisation(s)
Universität für Bodenkultur Wien
Journal
Scientific Reports
Volume
5
No. of pages
6
ISSN
2045-2322
DOI
https://doi.org/10.1038/srep15046
Publication date
10-2015
Peer reviewed
Yes
Austrian Fields of Science 2012
106047 Animal ecology, 106051 Behavioural biology
Keywords
Portal url
https://ucris.univie.ac.at/portal/en/publications/maternal-intraguild-predation-risk-affects-offspring-antipredator-behavior-and-learning-in-mites(7c723c0a-f69a-4a87-a501-59e26df7048e).html