Temporal activity patterns of predators and prey across broad geographic scales

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Abstract

Predators and prey are locked in an evolutionary arms race that shapes their behavior and life history. Predators target prey vulnerabilities to maximize hunting success, while prey trade-off foraging against predation avoidance. Though studies have demonstrated how predation risk can alter how prey allocate daily foraging effort, little work has considered the implications of this temporal component of behavior from a predator's perspective, or assessed its influence on broad-scale predator-prey interactions. We develop a method to compare daily activity patterns of avian predators and prey using data from 2 large citizen science datasets collected on different continents. Our analyses reveal evidence for convergent daily hunting strategies across avian predators, with distinct differences according to prey type. By comparing predator data with correspondent data from songbirds, our study suggests that predators (Accipiters) specialized to hunt songbirds match the activity patterns of their prey species. These results indicate predators have evolved common temporal hunting strategies to exploit temporal patterns in prey behavior.

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Lang, S. D. J., Mann, R. P., & Farine, D. R. (2019). Temporal activity patterns of predators and prey across broad geographic scales. Behavioral Ecology, 30(1), 172–180. https://doi.org/10.1093/beheco/ary133

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