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Keywords:

  • anti-predator behaviour;
  • induced defence;
  • sensory modality;
  • tadpole

The ability of prey to detect predators directly affects their probability of survival. Chemical cues are known to be important for predator detection in aquatic environments, but the role of other potential cues is controversial. We tested for changes in behaviour of Rana temporaria tadpoles in response to chemical, visual, acoustic, and hydraulic cues originating from dragonfly larvae (Aeshna cyanea) and fish (Gasterosteus aculeatus). The greatest reduction in tadpole activity occurred when all cues were available, but activity was also significantly reduced by visual cues only. We did not find evidence for tadpoles lowering their activity in response to acoustic and hydraulic cues. There was no spatial avoidance of predators in our small experimental containers. The results show that anuran larvae indeed use vision for predator detection, while acoustic and hydraulic cues may be less important. Future studies of predator-induced responses of tadpoles should not only concentrate on chemical cues but also consider visual stimuli. © 2012 The Linnean Society of London, Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 2012, ••, ••–••.