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The effects of competitor odour on predator choice for grouped prey in blue acara cichlids, Aequidens pulcher (Gill, 1858)

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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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