Predation risk as a driving force for phenotypic assortment: a cross-population comparison
Croft, Darren P
Ruxton, Graeme D.
Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Frequency-dependent predation has been proposed as a general mechanism driving the phenotypic assortment of social groups via the 'oddity effect', which occurs when the presence of odd individuals in a group allows a predator to fixate on a single prey item, increasing the predator's attack-to-kill ratio. However, the generality of the oddity effect has been debated and, previously, there has not been an ecological assessment of the role of predation risk in driving the phenotypic assortment of social groups. Here, we compare the levels of body length assortment of social groups between populations of the Trinidadian guppy (Poecilia reticulata) that experience differences in predation risk. As predicted by the oddity effect hypothesis, we observe phenotypic assortment by body length to be greater under high predation risk. However, we found that a number of low-predation populations were also significantly assorted by body length, suggesting that other mechanisms may have a role to play.
addresses: School of Biological Sciences, College of Natural Sciences, Bangor University, Deiniol Road, Bangor LL57 2UW, UK. firstname.lastname@example.org
notes: PMCID: PMC2674500
types: Comparative Study; Journal Article; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
© Royal Society, 2009. Post print version of article deposited in accordance with SHERPA RoMEO guidelines. The final published version is available from: http://rspb.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/276/1663/1899
Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 2009, Vol. 276, Issue 1663, pp. 1899 - 1904
Place of publication