Sep 30, 2016

You Are What you Eat: a Metabolomics Approach to Understanding Prey Responses to Diet-Dependent Chemical Cues Released by Predators

Journal of Chemical Ecology
Marc J WeissburgJulia Kubanek


Prey responses to predator cues are graded in intensity in accordance with the degree of threat presented by the predator. In systems in which prey gather information on predators by using chemicals, prey often respond more to the odor of predators that have consumed conspecifics, as opposed to heterospecifics. We investigated the response of a prey species, the mud crab, Panopeus herbstii, to urine of blue crab, Callinectes sapidus, fed mud crabs or oysters. Behavioral analysis was combined with metabolomics to characterize bioactive deterrents in the urine of predators fed different diets. Urine from blue crabs fed oysters or mud crabs depressed mud crab foraging when presented singly, with the urine derived from a mud crab diet being more potent. The magnitude of foraging depression increased with urine concentration. When urine from blue crabs fed oysters or mud crabs was combined, response to the urine mixture was no different from that to urine derived only from a mud crab diet. Metabolomics analysis indicated diet-dependent differences were related to a set of shared spectral features that differed in concentration in the respective urines, likely consisting of aromatic compounds, amino acids, and lipids. Taken together,...Continue Reading

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Mentioned in this Paper

Chemical Dependency Assessment Profile
Depressed - Symptom
Amino Acids, I.V. solution additive
Scylla serrata
Blue crab preparation

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