RECIPROCAL PHENOTYPIC PLASTICITY IN A PREDATOR–PREY INTERACTION BETWEEN LARVAL AMPHIBIANS

Authors


  • Corresponding Editor: J. Loman.

Abstract

In biological interactions, phenotypic change in interacting organisms induced by their interaction partners causes a substantial shift in some environmental factor of the partners, which may subsequently change their phenotype in response to that modified environmental factor. Few examples of such arms-race-like plastic responses, known as reciprocal phenotypic plasticity, have been identified in predator–prey interactions. We experimentally identified a reciprocal defensive plastic response of a prey species against a predator with a predaceous phenotype using a model system of close predator–prey interaction. Rana pirica tadpoles (the prey species) were reared with larvae of the salamander Hynobius retardatus (the predator species) having either a predaceous or a typical, nonpredaceous phenotype. The H. retardatus larvae with the predaceous phenotype, which is known to be induced by the presence of R. pirica tadpoles, induced a more defensive phenotype in the tadpoles than did larvae with the typical phenotype. The result suggests that the reciprocal phenotypic plasticity of R. pirica tadpoles is in response to a phenotype-specific signal under a close-signal recognition process.

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