Date of Award
Master of Science (MS)
College of Science and Mathematics
How animals respond to predatory threats is influenced by the kinds of sensory cues from predators they are able to detect. Because sensory information is transduced through the environment, both that and the animal’s physiology may determine how animals are capable of reacting and are important variables when considering their behavioral responses. In this study I tested the effects of visual, chemical and seismic predator cues on how prey react to predatory threat. Four species of arthropod prey animals were tested; German cockroaches, Blatella germanica (Blattodea: Blattellidae), House crickets, Acheta domesticus (Orthoptera: Gryllinae), Pill bugs, Armadillidium vulgare (Oniscidea: Armadillidiidae), and Sow bugs, Porcellio laevis (Oniscidea: Porcellionidae) in the presence of predatory spiders. Seismic cues were more significant than visual, chemical cues or a combination of the two in driving prey behavior when prey were exposed to predators. There is also a significant behavior difference when prey were exposed to predatory threat without barriers as providing barriers induces an unnatural or muted response. These results indicate that the physiologies of the arthropod prey used in this study are more effective at mechanoreception than visual reception or chemoreception.
Pniewski, Kelly I., "Do Arthropod Prey Alter Behavior When Exposed to Different Combinations of Sensory Cues from Predators?" (2014). Theses, Dissertations and Culminating Projects. 576.