Title

Chemical alarm signals increase the survival time of fathead minnows (Pimephales promelas) during encounters with northern pike (Esox Lucius)

Abstract

We tested the hypothesis that exposure to a conspecific alarm pheromone improves survival of fathead minnows (Pimephales promelas) during staged encounters with an unfamiliar predator (northern pike: Esox luaus). Minnows exposed to the alarm pheromone survived 39. 5% longer than controls. This difference in survival time appeared to result not from direct inhibition of the pike but rather from some aspect of the minnows' antipredator behavior. Minnows exhibited significant increases in both shoaling and shelter use after exposure to the alarm pheromone. For control minnows, the degree of shoaling was positively correlated with survival time, suggesting that increased shoaling is an effective antipredator response. This study provides the first direct experimental evidence that chemical alarm signals in fishes improve survival of receivers.

Document Type

Article

DOI

https://doi.org/10.1093/beheco/4.3.260

Keywords

Alarm signals, Cover, Esox lucius, Fathead minnows, Northern pike, Pimephales promelas, Predation, Schreckstoff, Shoaling, Survival

Publication Date

9-1-1993

Journal Title

Behavioral Ecology

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