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Reproductive state affects hiding behaviour under risk of predation but not exploratory activity of female Spanish terrapins

AuthorsIbáñez Ricomá, Alejandro; Marzal, Alfonso; López Martínez, Pilar ; Martín Rueda, José
Hiding behaviour
Exploratory behaviour
Predation risk
Reproductive state
Issue Date17-Dec-2014
CitationBehavioural Processes 111: 90–96 (2015)
AbstractFemale investment during reproduction may reduce survivorship due to increased predation risk. During pregnancy, the locomotor performance of gravid females might be diminished due to the additional weight acquired. In addition, egg production may also increase thermoregulatory, metabolic and physiological costs. Also, pregnant females have greater potential fitness and should take fewer risks. Thus, females should ponder their reproductive state when considering their behavioural responses under risky situations. Here, we examine how reproductive state influence risk-taking behaviour in different contexts in female Spanish terrapins (Mauremys leprosa). We simulated predator attacks of different risk levels and measured the time that the turtles spent hiding entirely inside their own shells (i.e. appearance times). We also assessed the subsequent time after emergence from the shell that the turtles spent immobile monitoring for predators before starting to escape actively (i.e. waiting times). Likewise, we performed a novel-environment test and measured the exploratory activity of turtles. We found no correlations between appearance time, waiting time or exploratory activity, but appearance times were correlated across different risk levels. Only appearance time was affected by the reproductive state, where gravid females reappeared relatively later from their shells after a predator attack than non-gravid ones. Moreover, among gravid females, those carrying greater clutches tended to have longer appearance times. This suggests that only larger clutches could affect hiding behaviour in risky contexts. In contrast, waiting time spent scanning for predators and exploratory activity were not affected by the reproductive state. These differences between gravid and non-gravid females might be explained by the metabolic-physiological costs associated with egg production and embryo maintenance, as well as by the relatively higher potential fitness of gravid females.
DescriptionReceived 22 February 2014, Received in revised form 4 December 2014, Accepted 15 December 2014, Available online 17 December 2014
Publisher version (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.beproc.2014.12.004
Appears in Collections:(MNCN) Artículos
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