Scales of predator detection behavior and escape in Fissurella limbata: A field and laboratory assessment

Tatiana Manzur, Avia Gonzalez-Mendez, Bernardo R. Broitman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


The consumptive effects of predators are widely acknowledged, but predation can also impact prey populations through non-consumptive effects (NCEs) such as costly antipredator behavioral responses. The magnitude of antipredator behavioral responses by prey is determined by an assessment of risk using sensory cues, which in turn is modulated by the environmental context. We studied the detection behavior and escape response of the keyhole limpet Fissurella limbata from the predatory sea star Heliaster helianthus. Through laboratory and field experimental trials, we quantified the distance and time of predator detection behavior by the prey, and measured their active escape responses when elicited. We found that predator detection by the limpet was chiefly mediated by distance, with experimental individuals capable of detecting predator presence effectively up to distances of at least 50 cm in the field and 70 cm under laboratory conditions. Our results indicate that this prey species is able to evaluate the proximity of its predator and use it as an indication of predation risk; therefore, predator–prey distance appears to be a primary predictor of the magnitude of the antipredator response. Given the tight relationship between predator distance and prey movement and the important role herbivores can play, particularly in this ecosystem, we expect that NCEs will cascade to the patterns of abundance and composition of rocky shore communities through changes in prey foraging behavior under risk.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere12492
JournalMarine Ecology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2018


  • antipredator behavior
  • escape
  • non-consumptive effects
  • predator detection behavior
  • predator–prey interactions
  • rocky inter-tidal
  • spatial scale


Dive into the research topics of 'Scales of predator detection behavior and escape in Fissurella limbata: A field and laboratory assessment'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this