Individuals can respond to predation risk by building morphological defenses or by altering their behavior. We tested whether freshwater Physa acuta (Draparnaud, 1805) snails with better morphological defenses against predation risk displayed lower or higher behavioral responses to predator cues compared to more poorly defended snails. We examined how the morphological traits of snails influence their risk of predation by crayfish, inferred by crush resistance, and how those same traits also influence their patch use in the absence and presence of predator cues. Using model selection, we found that a large shell width increased crush resistance. We also found that other morphological traits interacted with predator cues to influence the use of high resource patches, however shell width had almost no influence. Aperture length and aperture width both strongly interacted with cue: larger aperture length and larger aperture width snails decreased their use of the high resource patch substantially. Additionally we used a composite model to test whether estimated crush resistance, predator cue, or their interaction best predicted space use, and found no support that our estimate for crush resistance affected space use. Generally we found strong support that morphology effects crush resistance and also that morphology influences snail space use. However, crush resistance and space use are influenced by very different morphological traits.
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