Oddity, predation risk and social decisions in aquatic invertebrates

Raveh, Shirley; Langen, Kathrin; Bakker, Theo C. M.; Josephs, Christian; Frommen, Joachim G. (2019). Oddity, predation risk and social decisions in aquatic invertebrates. Ethology, 125(2), pp. 106-113. Wiley 10.1111/eth.12835

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Group living is widespread across animal taxa, incurring benefits such as increased foraging efficiency or an enhanced chance of surviving a predator's attack. The chances of escaping a predator are often lower for odd‐looking individuals, as these are detected at a higher rate than uniform looking group members. While this “oddity effect” shall operate in animals differing in any given phenotype, including colour, size or species identity, it has been experimentally tested mainly for odd‐coloured individuals. We examined the oddity effect and swarming preferences in two differently sized species of freshwater planktonic crustaceans (large Daphnia magna and small Daphnia pulex). We experimentally investigated whether odd individuals in a swarm of heterospecific Daphnia were more vulnerable to predation by a common predator, the three‐spined stickleback (Gasterosteus aculeatus). Furthermore, Daphnia's swarming preference was tested by giving individuals the opportunity to choose between conspecific/heterospecific odour and a neutral control. In contrast to the predictions of the oddity effect, odd individuals were not always preyed on earlier; instead three‐spined stickleback preferentially predated large, more nutritious individuals. Daphnia of both species reacted towards the perception of con‐ and heterospecifics odours. While D. pulex generally avoided the smell of other daphnids, D. magna avoided conspecifics but tended to prefer heterospecifics over the neutral control. These findings provide new insights into swarming strategies and social preference of an invertebrate and how this behaviour can influence predation risk.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


08 Faculty of Science > Department of Biology > Institute of Ecology and Evolution (IEE)

UniBE Contributor:

Raveh, Shirley, Frommen, Joachim Gerhard


500 Science > 570 Life sciences; biology








Niklas Ingvar Paulsson

Date Deposited:

12 Mar 2020 14:55

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 15:37

Publisher DOI:






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