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Data from: Does predation risk affect mating behavior? An experimental test in dumpling squid (Euprymna tasmanica)

Cite this dataset

Franklin, Amanda M.; Stuart-Fox, Devi; Squires, Zoe E. (2015). Data from: Does predation risk affect mating behavior? An experimental test in dumpling squid (Euprymna tasmanica) [Dataset]. Dryad.


Introduction: One of the most important trade-offs for many animals is that between survival and reproduction. This is particularly apparent when mating increases the risk of predation, either by increasing conspicuousness, reducing mobility or inhibiting an individual’s ability to detect predators. Individuals may mitigate the risk of predation by altering their reproductive behavior (e.g. increasing anti-predator responses to reduce conspicuousness). The degree to which individuals modulate their reproductive behavior in relation to predation risk is difficult to predict because both the optimal investment in current and future reproduction (due to life-history strategies) and level of predation risk may differ between the sexes and among species. Here, we investigate the effect of increased predation risk on the reproductive behavior of dumpling squid (Euprymna tasmanica). Results: Females, but not males, showed a substantial increase in the number of inks (an anti-predator behavior) before mating commenced in the presence of a predator (sand flathead Platycephalus bassensis). However, predation risk did not affect copulation duration, the likelihood of mating, female anti-predator behavior during or after mating or male anti-predator behavior at any time. Conclusions: Inking is a common anti-predator defense in cephalopods, thought to act like a smokescreen, decoy or distraction. Female dumpling squid are probably using this form of defense in response to the increase in predation risk prior to mating. Conversely, males were undeterred by the increase in predation risk. A lack of change in these variables may occur if the benefit of completing mating outweighs the risk of predation. Prioritizing current reproduction, even under predation risk, can occur when the chance of future reproduction is low, there is substantial energetic investment into mating, or the potential fitness payoffs of mating are high.

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Port Phillip Bay