Meeting Abstract

P1.9  Wednesday, Jan. 4  Antipredator behavior of red-eared slider hatchlings in response to visual and chemical predator cues HICKE, Justin W.*; BOWDEN, Rachel M.; Illinois State University, Normal, IL; Illinois State University, Normal, IL jwhicke@ilstu.edu

Vision and olfaction are common channels of predator detection in aquatic vertebrates, though research on predator detection by aquatic reptiles is relatively limited. Young red-eared slider turtles are prey for a wide variety of predators, including many avian species and other reptiles such as snapping turtles. In preliminary work done to characterize an antipredator response, hatchling red-eared sliders (Trachemys scripta) were exposed to a series of visual and chemical stimuli. Individuals were presented with visual cues in the form of a sudden overhead movement to simulate and aerial predator as well as chemical alarm cues in the form of filtered conspecific tissue homogenate to simulate an aquatic predation event. Initial analysis indicates that hatchlings tended to respond by ceasing movement and submerging. To further explore these responses, hatchlings will be exposed to two similar tests. First, hatchlings will be presented with a model of an aerial predator. Second, to assess the use of chemical cues, individuals will be exposed to aquatic predator cues and conspecific alarm cues, both separately and simultaneously. For all trials, pre-stimulus and post-stimulus behavior will be scored and will include time spent moving or motionless, and the time spent above or below the surface of the water. These studies will provide a greater understanding of how turtle hatchlings respond to the presence of predators in their environment and may allow for a comparison of how responses differ depending upon the type of predation threat.