University of Padua

Maternal predation risk increases offspring’s exploration but does not affect schooling behavior

Cattelan, Silvia and Herbert-Read, James and Panizzon, Paolo and Devigili, Alessandro and Griggio, Matteo and Pilastro, Andrea and Morosinotto, Chiara (2020) Maternal predation risk increases offspring’s exploration but does not affect schooling behavior. [Data Collection]

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The environment that parents experience can influence their reproductive output and their offspring’s fitness via parental effects. Perceived predation risk can affect both parent and offspring phenotype, but it remains unclear to what extent offspring behavioral traits are affected when the mother is exposed to predation risk. This is particularly unclear in live-bearing species where maternal effects could occur during embryogenesis. Here, using a half-sib design to control for paternal effects, we experimentally exposed females of a live-bearing fish, the guppy (Poecilia reticulata), to visual predator cues and conspecific alarm cues during their gestation. Females exposed to predation risk cues increased their anti-predator behaviors throughout the entire treatment. Offspring of mothers exposed to the predation stimuli exhibited more pronounced exploratory behavior, but did not show any significant differences in their schooling behavior, compared to controls. Thus, while maternally perceived risk affected offspring’s exploration during early stages of life, offspring’s schooling behavior could be influenced more by direct environmental experience, rather than via maternal cues. Our results suggest a rather limited role in predator-induced maternal effects on the behavior of juvenile guppies.

DOI: 10.5061/dryad.cnp5hqc1g
Keywords: maternal effects, non-lethal effects, schooling, Poecilia reticulata, intergenerational effects
Subjects: Life Sciences > Ecology, Evolution and Environmental Biology: Population, community and ecosystem ecology, evolutionary biology, behavioural ecology, microbial ecology > Behavioural ecology and evolution
Department: Departments > Dipartimento di Biologia (DiBio)
Depositing User: Research Data Unipd
Date Deposited: 17 Oct 2023 14:52
Last Modified: 17 Oct 2023 14:52
Type of data: Text
Research funder: L’Oréal, UNESCO, Swedish Research Council, Università degli Studi di Padova
Grant number: 2018-04076
Collection period:
1 January 201931 December 2019
Resource language: en
Metadata language: en
Publisher: Dryad
Status: Published
Original publication URL:
Related publications:
Date: 4 August 2020
Date type: Publication
Copyright holders: The Authors

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