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Data from: Australian native mammals recognise and respond to alien predators: a meta-analysis


Banks, Peter B.; Carthey, Alexandra J. R.; Bytheway, Jenna P. (2018), Data from: Australian native mammals recognise and respond to alien predators: a meta-analysis, Dryad, Dataset,


Prey naiveté is a failure to recognise novel predators and thought to cause exaggerated impacts of alien predators on native wildlife. Yet there is equivocal evidence in the literature for native prey naiveté towards aliens. To address this, we conducted a meta-analysis of Australian mammal responses to native and alien predators. Australia has the world’s worst record of extinction and declines of native mammals, largely due to two alien predators introduced some 150 years ago: the feral cat, Felis catus, and European red fox, Vulpes vulpes. Analysis of 94 responses to predator cues show that Australian mammals consistently recognise alien foxes as a predation threat, possibly because of thousands of years experience with another canid predator, the dingo, Canis lupus dingo. We also found consistent recogntion responses towards feral cats, however in 4 of the 7 studies available, these responses were of risk-taking behaviour rather than antipredator behaviour. Our results suggest that a simple failure to recognise alien predators is not behind the ongoing exaggerated impacts of alien predators in Australia. Instead, our results highlight an urgent need to better understand the appropriateness of antipredator responses in prey towards alien predators in order to understand native prey vulnerability.

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