The effects of competitor odour on predator choice for grouped prey in blue acara cichlids, Aequidens pulcher (Gill, 1858)
1. Predators are often faced with the choice of various prey groups to attack, where individual prey are equally profitable, but there is a cost of reduced capture success from overcoming the confusion effect.2. We investigated experimentally, preference for a singleton or a shoal of guppies, Poecilia reticulata, by wild-caught blue acara cichlids, Aequidens pulcher, and how this was affected by cues that may indicate both intra- and interspecific competition.3. When offered binary choices between single guppies and shoals, acaras showed a preference to attack the shoal. Faced with a potential competitor they no longer showed such a preference.4. We discuss the implications of these results regarding predator-prey interactions in environments where prey form shoals and multiple predators are present.
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