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Data from: Contingent strategies of risk management by snowshoe hares

Cite this dataset

Morris, Douglas W. (2019). Data from: Contingent strategies of risk management by snowshoe hares [Dataset]. Dryad.


Prey individuals employ several adaptive behaviours to reduce predation risk. We need to learn how those behaviours interact in an overall strategy of risk management, how strategies vary with changing conditions, and whether some behaviours might compensate for others. I addressed these issues with manipulative experiments evaluating how snowshoe hares’ (Lepus americanus) vigilance varies with their giving-up densities (GUDs) in artificial food patches. I tested whether the results, collected when there was no evidence of predation, were congruent with an earlier study under higher predation. When predator sign was common, vigilance depended directly on habitat. But when risk was low, habitat’s influence on vigilance was indirect. Hares were least vigilant during the new moon where the distance to escape habitat was far, but only in open risky habitat. Hares were more vigilant during the full moon, but only at stations far from escape habitat. Moon phase and additional cover had no effect on GUDs that were highest at open risky stations far from escape habitat. The results suggest that reduced risk allowed hares to allocate less time to vigilance, but they needed to forage for similar amounts of food during each moon phase in order to maintain their energetic state.

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