Department of Biology

Aarhus University Seal / Aarhus Universitets segl

Professor Peter Teglberg Madsen

Directional escape behavior in allis shad (Alosa alosa) exposed to ultrasonic clicks mimicking an approaching Toothed whale

Research output: Contribution to journal/Conference contribution in journal/Contribution to newspaperJournal articleResearchpeer-review

  • M. Wilson, Denmark
  • H.B. Schack
  • ,
  • P.T. Madsen
  • Annemarie Surlykke, Biologisk institut, Denmark
  • M. Wahlberg, Denmark
Toothed whales emit high-powered ultrasonic clicks to echolocate a wide range of prey. It may be hypothesized that some of their prey species have evolved capabilities to detect and respond to such ultrasonic pulses in a way that reduces predation, akin to the situation for many nocturnal insects and echolocating bats. Using high-speed film recordings and controlled exposures, we obtained behavioural evidence that simulated toothed whale biosonar clicks elicit highly directional anti-predator responses in an ultrasound-sensitive allis shad (Alosa alosa). Ten shad were exposed to 192.dB re. 1μPa (pp) clicks centred at 40.kHz at repetition rates of 1, 20, 50 and 250.clicks.s with summed energy flux density levels of 148, 161, 165 and 172.dB.re. 1μPa .s. The exposures mimicked the acoustic exposure from a delphinid toothed whale in different phases of prey search and capture. The response times of allis shad were faster for higher repetition rates of clicks with the same sound pressure level. None of the fish responded to a single click, but had median response times of 182, 93 and 57.ms when exposed to click rates of 20, 50 and 250.clicks s , respectively. This suggests that the ultrasound detector of allis shad is an energy detector and that shad respond faster when exposed to a nearby fast-clicking toothed whale than to a slow-clicking toothed whale far away. The findings are thus consistent with the hypothesis that shad ultrasound detection is used for reducing predation from echolocating toothed whales.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Experimental Biology
Volume214
Issue1
Pages (from-to)22-29
Number of pages8
ISSN0022-0949
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2011

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