Delayed escape responses of male Basiliscus plumifrons (Squamata: Corytophanidae) during peak activity
Delayed escape responses of male Basiliscus plumifrons (Squamata: Corytophanidae) during peak activity. Many animals must balance their time spent active in a habitat against their perceived risk of predation. Factors that may increase that perceived risk, such as a faster predator approach, are therefore expected to cause prey to initiate escape quickly to avoid capture. At the same time, because patterns of daily activity can fuctuate throughout the day, the relative costs and benefts of initiating escape may also differ over time. Here I evaluated the escape responses of adult male emerald basilisk (Basiliscus plumifrons) lizards in two different time periods: morning (when daily activity peaks) and early afternoon (when activity is suppressed). Further, I approached each lizard at either a practiced slow or fast pace. Escape responses were recorded as fight-initiation (distance between observer and lizard prior to escape) and fight (distance travelled during escape) distance. No factor affected fight distance, and approach speed also had no effect on fight initiation distance. In contrast, time period affected fight initiation distance, with males approached in the morning delaying their escape response compared to males approached during the early afternoon. Because morning and early afternoon periods coincide with peak and suppressed periods of activity for basilisks at this study site, respectively, ambushforaging species like B. plumifrons may delay escape when active to avoid prematurely alerting the predator of their presence.
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