The dicey dinner dilemma: asymmetry in predator-prey risk-taking, a broadly-applicable alternative to the life-dinner principle

Rosalind K. Humphreys, Graeme D. Ruxton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Forty years ago, the ‘life‐dinner principle’ was proposed as an example of an asymmetry that may lead prey species to experience stronger selection than their predators, thus accounting for the high frequency with which prey escape alive from interaction with a predator. This principle remains an influential concept in the scientific literature, despite several works suggesting that the concept relies on many under‐appreciated assumptions and does not apply as generally as was initially proposed. Here, we present a novel model describing a very different asymmetry to that proposed in the life‐dinner principle, but one that could apply broadly. We argue that asymmetries between the relative costs and benefits to predators and prey of selecting a risky behaviour during an extended predator–prey encounter could lead to an enhanced likelihood of escape for the prey. Any resulting advantage to prey depends upon there being a behaviour or choice that introduces some inherent danger to both predator and prey if they adopt it, but which if the prey adopts the predator must match in order to have a chance of successful predation. We suggest that the circumstances indicated by our model could apply broadly across diverse taxa, including both risky spatial or behavioural choices.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Evolutionary Biology
VolumeEarly View
Early online date29 Jan 2020
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 29 Jan 2020

Keywords

  • Arms-race
  • Behavioural ecology
  • Evolution
  • Life-dinner principle
  • Predator-prey interaction
  • Risk-taking

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