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Data from: Torpor reduces predation risk by compensating for the energetic cost of antipredator foraging behaviours

Citation

Turbill, Chris; Stojanovski, Lisa; Turbill, Christopher (2018), Data from: Torpor reduces predation risk by compensating for the energetic cost of antipredator foraging behaviours, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.hk81qh1

Abstract

Foraging activity is needed for energy intake but increases the risk of predation, and antipredator behavioural responses, such as reduced activity, generally reduce energy intake. Hence, mortality and indirect effects of predation risk are dependent on the energy requirements of prey. Torpor, a controlled reduction in resting metabolism and body temperature, is a common energy-saving mechanism of small mammals that enhances their resistance to starvation. Here we test the hypothesis that torpor could also reduce predation risk by compensating for the energetic cost of antipredator behaviours. We measured the foraging behaviour and body temperature of house mice in response to manipulation of perceived predation risk by adjusting levels of ground cover and starvation risk by 24-h food withdrawal every third day. We found that a voluntary reduction in daily food intake in response to lower cover (high predation risk) was matched by the extent of a daily reduction in body temperature. Our study provides the first experimental evidence of a close link between energy-saving torpor responses to starvation risk and behavioural responses to perceived predation risk. By reducing the risk of starvation, torpor can facilitate stronger antipredator behaviours. These results highlight the interplay between capacity for reducing metabolic energy expenditure, optimal decisions about foraging behaviour, and the life-history ecology of prey.

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