Recently, researchers have identified that nonlethal costs of predation may arise not only from lost energy intake but also potentially from increased energetic expenditure. During periods of heightened stress following unsuccessful predation attempts, organisms may remain in an altered physiological state with elevated metabolism for some time. Few studies have quantified these nonlethal energetic costs of predation. We monitored the cardiac response (cardiac output (Q), heart rate (fH), and stroke volume (SVH)) of largemouth bass, Micropterus salmoides, ranging in size from 200 to 425 mm, to simulated avian predation attempts by great blue heron, Ardea herodias, and osprey, Pandion haliaetus. Fear bradycardia during a 30-s predation attempt varied depending upon the size of the fish and the type of predator. The magnitude of the bradycardia decreased with increasing size of the fish; however, the disturbances were more extreme in response to osprey than to blue heron models. Maximal cardiac disturbance following simulated predation attempts by osprey were consistent among size classes of bass. However, the magnitude of the disturbance following heron predation attempts reduced as the size of the fish increased. Size-specific trends were even more extreme for cardiac-recovery durations. Largemouth bass of all sizes exposed to osprey predation attempts required ~40 min for Q and fHand ~30 min for SVH to return to predisturbance levels. Although small bass exposed to heron predation attempts required recovery times similar to fish exposed to osprey predation attempts, as the size of largemouth bass exposed to the heron model increased above ~300 mm, the recovery time decreased significantly. We conclude that the size-specific response of largemouth bass to different predators is reflective of their ability to assess the risk posed by different predators. In addition, the nonlethal costs of predation can be substantial and should be considered in future bioenergetics models.
Fish were angled and then a cardiac monitor was surgically placed in the fish