Predator or prey? The dive response to aerial and aquatic predators of Arafura filesnakes

Pratt, K. and Franklin, C.E. (2009) Predator or prey? The dive response to aerial and aquatic predators of Arafura filesnakes. Australian Journal of Zoology, 57 6: 423-428. doi:10.1071/ZO09080

Author Pratt, K.
Franklin, C.E.
Title Predator or prey? The dive response to aerial and aquatic predators of Arafura filesnakes
Journal name Australian Journal of Zoology   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0004-959X
Publication date 2009
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1071/ZO09080
Volume 57
Issue 6
Start page 423
End page 428
Total pages 6
Editor Elgar, M.
Place of publication Australia
Publisher CSIRO Publishing
Collection year 2010
Language eng
Subject 0608 Zoology
970106 Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences
Formatted abstract
In air-breathing aquatic animals, predation is a strong selection pressure that may be reduced by modification
to diving patterns. The risk of predation increases with time spent at the surface, thus shorter, more frequent surfacing
events or longer, less frequent surfacing events would decrease predation risk. A reduction in time spent on the surface can
be achieved by use of bimodal respiration, which is an ability to extend dive duration using dissolved oxygen to
supplement aerially acquired oxygen. Air is a more efficient respiratory medium; however, under predation pressure, the
cost of surfacing increases and the reliance on aquatic gas exchange should therefore increase. We tested whether the
bimodally respiring filesnake (Acrochordus arafurae) changed its diving behaviour under simulated aerial (model bird)
and aquatic (large fish) predation. Aerial predation did not alter dive or surface duration, percentage time surfacing or
activity. However, a greater number of longer dives were observed with fewer long surface intervals, suggesting an
increase in the use of aquatic gas exchange. The diel diving patterns (short night dives, long day dives) may provide an inbuilt
antipredatory response to aerial predation. The threat of aquatic predation produced atypical antipredator behaviour,
with longer surface intervals, shorter dives and increased activity, indicating that piscivorous filesnakes may have
identified the predatory fish as prey rather than a predator.
Keyword Acrochordus arafurae
Arafura filesnake
bimodal respiration
optimal diving
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: 2010 Higher Education Research Data Collection
School of Biological Sciences Publications
Ecology Centre Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 1 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
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Created: Fri, 26 Mar 2010, 14:33:55 EST by Hayley Ware on behalf of School of Biological Sciences