Influence of rearing and experimental temperatures on predator avoidance behaviour in a freshwater pulmonate snail

Sarah Dalesman*, Simon D. Rundle

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Citations (SciVal)


Predicted increases in the temperature of freshwaters is likely to affect how prey species respond to predators. We investigated how the predator avoidance behaviour of the freshwater pulmonate snail Lymnaea stagnalis is influenced by the temperature at which it was reared and that at which behavioural trials were carried out. Crawl-out behaviour of juvenile snails from two populations (high predation risk versus low predation risk) reared at either 15 or 20 °C was assessed in response to predation cues (predatory fish kairomones and conspecific alarm cues) in behavioural trials at both 15 and 20 °C. Trial temperature had a significant effect on the time that snails spent in avoidance, regardless of their population of origin. Crawl-out behaviour was greater during behavioural trials at 15 °C, but there was no effect of trial temperature on the speed with which animals showed avoidance behaviour. There was no interactive effect of rearing temperature (RT) and trial temperature, but the effect of RT on avoidance behaviour did differ between populations. For an RT of 15 °C, snails from the South Drain (high risk) population showed a more rapid and longer avoidance response than those from the Chilton Moor (low risk) population. In contrast, for snails reared at 20 °C, there was no difference between populations for the duration of the avoidance response and snails from Chilton Moor crawled out faster than those from South Drain. Hence, whilst (predictable) differences relative to natural predation threat in crawl-out behaviour were apparent at 15 °C, raising the developmental temperature to 20 °C eliminated or, in the case of latency, reversed these differences. This suggests that L. stagnalis populations that cohabit with predatory fish and experience high developmental temperatures may have a reduced ability to respond to fish predation risk.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2107-2113
Number of pages7
JournalFreshwater Biology
Issue number10
Early online date06 Jul 2010
Publication statusPublished - 01 Oct 2010


  • Antipredator behaviour
  • Chemical communication
  • Developmental plasticity
  • Gastropod
  • Temperature


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