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Predator avoidance in seagrass meadows: prey behavior, microhabitat selection, and cryptic coloration

The Ecological Society of America
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  • Predation (Biology)
  • Predatory Animals
  • Fishes
  • Seagrasses
  • Camouflage (Biology)


Behavioral responses to predators may influence distribution and abundance patterns of prey. Earlier predator-preference experiments and analyses of natural diets revealed that the caridean shrimp Tozeuma carolinense is underrepresented in the diet of pinfish, Lagodon rhomboides, the dominant predatory fish in marine seagrass meadows in the southeastern USA. I examined the influence of prey behavioral responses, microhabitat shifts, and cryptic coloration on prey accessibility to Lagodon with a combination of field observations and laboratory experiments. Tozeuma's behavior and microhabitat choice were extremely similar in the field and the laboratory and were tightly coupled to the seagrasses Tozeuma inhabits.

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