Maternal predation risk increases offspring's exploration but does not affect schooling behavior

Silvia Cattelan, James Herbert-Read, Paolo Panizzon, Alessandro Devigili, Matteo Griggio, Andrea Pilastro, Chiara Morosinotto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (SciVal)


The environment that parents experience can influence their reproductive output and their offspring's fitness via parental effects. Perceived predation risk can affect both parent and offspring phenotype, but it remains unclear to what extent offspring behavioral traits are affected when the mother is exposed to predation risk. This is particularly unclear in live-bearing species where maternal effects could occur during embryogenesis. Here, using a half-sib design to control for paternal effects, we experimentally exposed females of a live-bearing fish, the guppy (Poecilia reticulata), to visual predator cues and conspecific alarm cues during their gestation. Females exposed to predation risk cues increased their antipredator behaviors throughout the entire treatment. Offspring of mothers exposed to the predation stimuli exhibited more pronounced exploratory behavior, but did not show any significant differences in their schooling behavior, compared to controls. Thus, while maternally perceived risk affected offspring's exploration during early stages of life, offspring's schooling behavior could be influenced more by direct environmental experience rather than via maternal cues. Our results suggest a rather limited role in predator-induced maternal effects on the behavior of juvenile guppies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1207-1217
Number of pages11
JournalBehavioral Ecology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Behavioral Sciences Biology


  • Antipredator behavior
  • Exploration
  • Intergenerational effects
  • Maternal effects
  • Nonlethal effects
  • Poecilia reticulata
  • Schooling


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