Contact with caterpillar hairs triggers predator-specific defensive responses
AbstractOrganisms have evolved morphological and behavioral traits that reduce their susceptibility to predation. However, few studies have considered how morphological structures work to provide informational inputs necessary for effective behavioral responses to predation risk. In this study, we demonstrate that the hairs of Orgyia leucostigma (Lymantriidae) caterpillars not only function as physical barriers that deter predators but also act to provide sensory inputs triggering behavior that reduces predation risk. In particular, the way in which caterpillars respond when their hairs are touched is predator specific. Mechanical parameters of the interaction determining the response were identified correlatively and confirmed manipulatively. Caterpillars predominantly dropped in response to high hair bending velocities and predominantly walked away in response to low hair bending velocities. These stimulus-specific responses appear to be adaptive as they led to increased survival. Our results demonstrate a functional link between morphology and behavior. The ability to respond effectively only after the initiation of a predator attack should reduce the costs associated with antipredator behaviors. Copyright 2011, Oxford University Press.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoArticle provided by International Society for Behavioral Ecology in its journal Behavioral Ecology.
Volume (Year): 22 (2011)
Issue (Month): 5 ()
Contact details of provider:
Postal: Oxford University Press, Great Clarendon Street, Oxford OX2 6DP, UK
Fax: 01865 267 985
Web page: http://beheco.oxfordjournals.org/
You can help add them by filling out this form.
reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.Access and download statisticsgeneral information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Oxford University Press) or (Christopher F. Baum).
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.