Chemically-mediated predator-recognition learning in a marine gastropod. Rochette, R.; Arsenault, D. J.; Justome, B.; and Himmelman, J. H. Ecoscience, 5(3):353–360, 1998.
Chemically-mediated predator-recognition learning in a marine gastropod [link]Paper  abstract   bibtex   
We performed laboratory experiments to examine whether short-term exposure to predation threat increases the intensity of the escape response of juvenile whelks, Buccinum undatum L., when confronted with the predatory asteroid Leptasierias polaris (Muller & Troschel). In the first experiment, we exposed whelks for 4 days to brief encounters with several stimuli associated with predation threat, including contact with and odors of L. polaris and potential alarm signals from conspecifics. The responsiveness of predator-conditioned whelks increased significantly during the first three days of conditioning. On the fourth day, predator-conditioned whelks displayed stronger responses to contact with L. polaris than whelks held under control conditions. The second experiment involved exposing three groups of whelks for 30 minutes every hour, over a 6-hour period, to (i) the odors of L, polaris (predator group), (ii) the odors of L. polaris feeding on whelks and of alarmed conspecifics (predator-whelk group), or (iii) to untreated seawater (control group), respectively. Bioassays performed after the conditioning period showed that responses were stronger for the predator-whelk group than for the control group, but similar between the predator and control groups. Our results indicate that experience with predators can cause the development of escape responses in B. undatum and provide the first experimental evidence of a learned antipredator behavior in a mollusc. Such a learning process may explain the increase in responsiveness to L. polaris of whelks in the Mingan Islands as they increase in size. The learning process being mediated by waterborne chemical cues may allow whelks to obtain information on the risk of predation in their environment without leaving the safety of refuges. Odors from agitated, injured or dead conspecifics being required in this chemically-mediated learning process may ensure that whelks only become responsive to dangerous asteroids. Further studies are needed to evaluate the importance of stimuli integration, including learning events, in mediating the behavioral processes of B, undatum and other aquatic invertebrates.
@article{rochette_chemically-mediated_1998,
	title = {Chemically-mediated predator-recognition learning in a marine gastropod},
	volume = {5},
	shorttitle = {Chemically-mediated predator-recognition learning in a marine gastropod},
	url = {http://www.ecoscience.ulaval.ca/en/paper/chemically-mediated-predator-recognition-learning-in-a-marine-gastropod-fait-parti-du-numero-thematique-sur-l-ecologie-chimique-part-of-the-special-feature-on-chemical-ecology},
	abstract = {We performed laboratory experiments to examine whether short-term exposure to predation threat increases the intensity of the escape response of juvenile whelks, Buccinum undatum L., when confronted with the predatory asteroid Leptasierias polaris (Muller \& Troschel). In the first experiment, we exposed whelks for 4 days to brief encounters with several stimuli associated with predation threat, including contact with and odors of L. polaris and potential alarm signals from conspecifics. The responsiveness of predator-conditioned whelks increased significantly during the first three days of conditioning. On the fourth day, predator-conditioned whelks displayed stronger responses to contact with L. polaris than whelks held under control conditions. The second experiment involved exposing three groups of whelks for 30 minutes every hour, over a 6-hour period, to (i) the odors of L, polaris (predator group), (ii) the odors of L. polaris feeding on whelks and of alarmed conspecifics (predator-whelk group), or (iii) to untreated seawater (control group), respectively. Bioassays performed after the conditioning period showed that responses were stronger for the predator-whelk group than for the control group, but similar between the predator and control groups. Our results indicate that experience with predators can cause the development of escape responses in B. undatum and provide the first experimental evidence of a learned antipredator behavior in a mollusc. Such a learning process may explain the increase in responsiveness to L. polaris of whelks in the Mingan Islands as they increase in size. The learning process being mediated by waterborne chemical cues may allow whelks to obtain information on the risk of predation in their environment without leaving the safety of refuges. Odors from agitated, injured or dead conspecifics being required in this chemically-mediated learning process may ensure that whelks only become responsive to dangerous asteroids. Further studies are needed to evaluate the importance of stimuli integration, including learning events, in mediating the behavioral processes of B, undatum and other aquatic invertebrates.},
	number = {3},
	journal = {Ecoscience},
	author = {Rochette, R. and Arsenault, D. J. and Justome, B. and Himmelman, J. H.},
	year = {1998},
	keywords = {Gastropoda},
	pages = {353--360},
}
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