Death feigning as an adaptive anti-predator behaviour: Further evidence for its evolution from artificial selection and natural populations

Kana Konishi, Kentarou Matsumura, Wataru Sakuno, Takahisa Miyatake

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Death feigning is considered to be an adaptive antipredator behaviour. Previous studies on Tribolium castaneum have shown that prey which death feign have a fitness advantage over those that do not when using a jumping spider as the predator. Whether these effects are repeatable across species or whether they can be seen in nature is, however, unknown. Therefore, the present study involved two experiments: (a) divergent artificial selection for the duration of death feigning using a related species T. freemani as prey and a predatory bug as predator, demonstrating that previous results are repeatable across both prey and predator species, and (b) comparison of the death-feigning duration of T. castaneum populations collected from field sites with and without predatory bugs. In the first experiment, T. freemani adults from established selection regimes with longer durations of death feigning had higher survival rates and longer latency to being preyed on when they were placed with predatory bugs than the adults from regimes selected for shorter durations of death feigning. As a result, the adaptive significance of death-feigning behaviour was demonstrated in another prey–predator system. In the second experiment, wild T. castaneum beetles from populations with predators feigned death longer than wild beetles from predator-free populations. Combining the results from these two experiments with those from previous studies provided strong evidence that predators drive the evolution of longer death feigning.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Evolutionary Biology
DOIs
Publication statusAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2020

Keywords

  • Amphibolus venator
  • antipredator behaviour
  • artificial selection
  • locomotor activity
  • thanatosis
  • tonic immobility
  • Tribolium freemani

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics

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