Predator Detection

Fischer, Stefan; Frommen, Joachim G. (2019). Predator Detection. In: Encyclopedia of Animal Cognition and Behavior (pp. 1-8). Springer 10.1007/978-3-319-47829-6_714-1

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The chance of prey to escape predation strongly depends on its ability to detect the predator before getting attacked. In order to avoid potential lethal attacks, prey species need to be constantly vigilant. At the same time, they need to engage in other activities such as feeding and mating. This creates trade-offs between the time invested in antipredator vigilance and all other activities.Optimizing the outcome of such trade-offs requires a precise knowledge of the predator appearance in order to minimize false alarms and at the same time maximize correct identification.Predator recognition can be either inherited or learned, for instance, based on own or public information. To recognize the presence of a predator, prey animals may employ various cues, often involving different modalities such as olfactory,visual, or acoustic information. Moreover, the chances to detect a predator will further increase when several individuals are vigilant. In this chapter we will first elucidate the different mechanisms enabling animals to differentiate between non-dangerous animals and predators. We will then introduce the different cues animals use to detect the presence and motivational state of predators. Finally, we show how the presence of group members increases a prey’s chance to detect predators and how such information about risk is transferred within the group.

Item Type:

Book Section (Encyclopedia Article)


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

UniBE Contributor:

Frommen, Joachim Gerhard


500 Science > 570 Life sciences; biology
500 Science > 590 Animals (Zoology)








Niklas Ingvar Paulsson

Date Deposited:

24 Mar 2020 15:22

Last Modified:

24 Mar 2020 15:22

Publisher DOI:





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