ABS 2022
Risk Assessment By Tadpoles: Do Post-Metamorphic Predators Get A Clean Slate In The Eyes Of Their Prey?  
Himal Thapa, Adam L. Crane, Gabrielle H. Achtymichuk, Maud C. O. Ferrari. University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, S7H2V3, Canada

It is difficult for a prey to learn and retain information about each predator they encounter. Interestingly, some prey respond to a novel predator based on previous experience with a closely related or visually similar predator. However, it is still unknown whether prey can generalize learned response to a different ontogenic stages of a predator, which might pose a differential risk. We conducted two experiments to see the extent of generalization of wood frog tadpoles (Lithobates sylvaticus) between different life stages of: (1) diving beetle (Dytiscus sp.) and (2) tiger salamander (Ambystoma tigrinum). We conditioned tadpoles with alarm cue (chemicals eliciting an innate fear response) and larval or adult predator odour to recognize the odour as risky. Later, we tested them with larval or adult predator odour to see if they can generalize the learned response between two different stages of the predator. The results show that the tadpoles were able to generalize between larval and adult beetle odour. However, they failed to generalize between larval and adult salamander odour. These results suggest that a predator's ontogenic switch might affect generalization by prey.