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Effects of the fecal odor of Mustela sibirica on the foraging behavior of Microtus fortis
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  • Shuang Li,
  • Yuting An,
  • Anna Li,
  • Jiacheng Li,
  • bo Ma,
  • dongmei Yang,
  • shuanglun Tao,
  • junnian Li
Shuang Li
Jishou University
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Yuting An
Jishou University
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Anna Li
Jishou University
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Jiacheng Li
Jishou University
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bo Ma
Jishou University
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dongmei Yang
Jishou University
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shuanglun Tao
Jishou University
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junnian Li
Jishou University

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

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Abstract

Foraging is one of the behaviors in which animals are most at risk from predation, the optimal foraging theory states that an animal will get the maximum benefit at the lowest possible cost, and predator odor stress plays an important role in the growth, development and reproduction of animals. However, the effects of predation risk and maternal effects on foraging behavior are not clear. To investigate the influence of predation risk on the foraging behavior of the first filial generation through the maternal effects during the breeding period, we tookMicrotus fortis as the experimental subject, and the fecal odor of the predator M. sibirica was taken as the predation risk source; the matrix was placed in the odor exposure box during gestation and lactation, respectively, and the foraging behavior was tested after the first filial generation was weaned. We found that predator odor would increase the rate of food intake by increasing the size of their mouths, increasing the frequency of feeding, and decreasing the duration of feeding. In addition, voles also increased the size of their mouths when exposed to the scent of the non-predator apodemus agrarius, suggesting that they could gain an advantage in resource competition by eating more food. Therefore, in addition to improving energy intake through food selection, animals can also improve foraging efficiency and reduce predation risk by changing foraging behavior characteristics, which provides a new entry point for anti-predation strategies of animals and enrich the research on anti-predation behaviors.