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Combined effects of chemical and visual information in eliciting antipredator behaviour in juvenile Atlantic salmon Salmo salar

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Under natural conditions, both young-of-the-year (YOY; 0+ year) and parr (1+ year) Atlantic salmon Salmo salar exhibited strong antipredator behaviour (e.g. increase in latency to resume foraging) following the exposure to damage-released chemical alarm cues relative to a stream water control. Subsequent exposure to a novel visual stimulus had contrasting results. Parr increased their reactive distance to the visual stimulus if they had been previously exposed to a chemical alarm cue, whereas YOY did not. On the other hand, both YOY and parr took significantly longer to resume foraging when exposed to a visual stimulus if they had been previously exposed to a chemical alarm cue than control groups. While YOY and parr differed in the type and intensity of antipredator responses to both chemical and visual stimuli, perhaps due to differential costs and benefits associated with age, both used the chemical and the visual information in a combined manner.

Keywords: age-specific response; damage-released chemical alarm cue; predator avoidance; reactive distance; risk assessment

Document Type: Regular Paper


Affiliations: Department of Biology, Concordia University, 7141 Sherbrooke Street West, Montréal, Québec, H4B 1R6 Canada

Publication date: April 1, 2009

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