Modulation of foraging strategy in response to distinct prey items and their scents in the aquatic frog Xenopus longipes (Anura: Pipidae)

Michaels, C J and Das, S and Chang, Y M and Tapley, B (2018) Modulation of foraging strategy in response to distinct prey items and their scents in the aquatic frog Xenopus longipes (Anura: Pipidae). Herpetological Bulletin, 143. pp. 1-6.

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Abstract

Aquatic predators must forage for prey in a complex three-dimensional environment where the availability of different prey types with different spatial niches may vary. Aquatic predators have evolved a number of ways in which they may respond to this variation, including phenotypic adaptation and behavioural modulation. We investigated whether clawed frogs (Xenopus longipes) can modulate their foraging behaviour in response to benthic (bloodworms) and pelagic (glassworms) prey species to which they had already been exposed, and whether any response would be elicited by chemosensory prey cues alone. Frogs responded to the presence of prey items by foraging more than in a control treatment (no cues at all) and were able to respond appropriately to prey type, foraging more in the water column for glassworms and on the aquarium floor for bloodworms. This effect was maintained in a second set of trials where frogs were exposed only to the chemosensory cues of the same prey items. These data show that X. longipes can modulate its foraging strategy to match the type of prey available and that this behaviour is at least in part informed by chemosensory cues.

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