Chemical cues are frequently a key source of information to aquatic organisms. Both predators (kairomones digestive metabolites) and prey (alarm and damage-released cues) may generate chemical cues during their interactions, and different cue types can have different informational values. How predators and prey use the information from chemical cues to make spatial movement decisions influences both their direct interaction rates and their interactions with other species. We measured the spatial response of predatory larval dragonflies (Anax junius) and predator-naïve green frog (Lithobates clamitans) tadpoles exposed to several types of chemical cues using experimental mesocosms. We found tadpoles only responded with spatial avoidance when exposed to both Anax kairomones and conspecific alarm cues together, whereas Anax did not exhibit consistent spatial responses to any cue type. Our results suggest tadpole prey selectively respond to environmental information from chemical cues (possibly to minimize costly antipredator behavior due to responding to insufficient information or reflecting a need for associative learning). They also show predatory dragonflies may use nonchemical information to make space use decisions (possibly due to inability to detect the same chemical cues as tadpoles).
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