Survival of the stillest

predator avoidance in shark embryos

Ryan M. Kempster, Nathan S. Hart, Shaun P. Collin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

30 Citations (Scopus)
12 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Sharks use highly sensitive electroreceptors to detect the electric fields emitted by potential prey. However, it is not known whether prey animals are able to modulate their own bioelectrical signals to reduce predation risk. Here, we show that some shark (Chiloscyllium punctatum) embryos can detect predator-mimicking electric fields and respond by ceasing their respiratory gill movements. Despite being confined to the small space within the egg case, where they are vulnerable to predators, embryonic sharks are able to recognise dangerous stimuli and react with an innate avoidance response. Knowledge of such behaviours, may inform the development of effective shark repellents.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere52551
Pages (from-to)1-6
Number of pages6
JournalPLoS ONE
Volume8
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 16 Jan 2013
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Copyright the Author(s) 2013. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.

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