When new predators invade a habitat, either through range extensions or introductions, prey may be at a high risk because they do not recognize the predators as dangerous. The nine-banded armadillo (Dasypus novemcinctus) has recently expanded its range in North America. Armadillos forage by searching soil and leaf litter, consuming invertebrates and small vertebrates, including salamanders. We tested whether Ozark zigzag salamanders (Plethodon angusticlavius) from a population coexisting with armadillos for about 30 years exhibit antipredator behavior in the presence of armadillo chemical cues and whether they can discriminate between stimuli from armadillos and a nonpredatory sympatric mammal (white-tailed deer, Odocoileus virginianus). Salamanders appeared to recognize substrate cues from armadillos as a threat because they increased escape behaviors and oxygen consumption. When exposed to airborne cues from armadillos, salamanders also exhibited an antipredator response by spending more time in an inconspicuous posture. Additionally, individually consistent behaviors across treatments for some response variables suggest the potential for a behavioral syndrome in this species.
Copyright © 2012 The authors. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Crane, Adam L., Carly E. McGrane, and Alicia Mathis. "Behavioral and physiological responses of Ozark zigzag salamanders to stimuli from an invasive predator: the armadillo." International Journal of Ecology 2012 (2011).
International Journal of Ecology