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Research article2017Peer reviewedOpen access

Balancing past and present: how experience influences boldness over time in Eurasian perch

Hellstrom, Gustav; Magnhagen, Carin


Adapting to fluctuating predation conditions is a challenge for prey. By learning through experience, animals may adjust their anti-predator behavior to better reflect current predation risk. Although many studies show experience of predation to alter prey behavior, little is known about how prey rely on such experience over time. By comparing boldness over different temporal scales between individuals of Eurasian perch, either experienced or naive of predators, we examine how risk is traded based on past and present experience. Differences in predator exposure during the first year of life were found to lead to differences in risk-taking behavior, even after the perch been kept in a predator-free environment for 9 months. However, the response to a potential predator was quickly readjusted after increased experience of current conditions. The results highlight how prey have to balance past experiences of predators against current threat levels.


behavior; fish; learning; personality; predation; risk-taking

Published in

Current Zoology
2017, Volume: 63, number: 2, pages: 159-164 Publisher: OXFORD UNIV PRESS