Global determinants of prey naiveté to exotic predators

Andrea Anton*, Nathan R. Geraldi, Anthony Ricciardi, Jaimie T.A. Dick

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

63 Citations (Scopus)
51 Downloads (Pure)


Prey naiveté - the failure of prey to recognize novel predators as threats - is thought to exacerbate the impact that exotic predators exert on prey populations. Prey naiveté varies under the influence of eco-evolutionary mediating factors, such as biogeographic isolation and prey adaptation, although an overall quantification of their influence is lacking. We conducted a global meta-analysis to test the effects of several hypothesized mediating factors on the expression of prey naiveté. Prey were overall naive towards exotic predators in marine and freshwater systems but not in terrestrial systems. Prey naiveté was most pronounced towards exotic predators that did not have native congeneric relatives in the recipient community. Time since introduction was relevant, as prey naiveté declined with the number of generations since introduction; on average, around 200 generations may be required to erode naiveté sufficiently for prey to display antipredator behaviour towards exotic predators. Given that exotic predators are a major cause of extinction, the global predictors and trends of prey naiveté presented here can inform efforts to meet conservation targets.

Original languageEnglish
Article number20192978
Number of pages10
JournalProceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Issue number1928
Early online date03 Jun 2020
Publication statusPublished - 10 Jun 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Data accessibility. Data available from the Dryad Digital Repository: [79]. Code availability statement: the R script used in this manuscript is deposited here Authors contributions. A.A. and N.R.G. conceived the study, A.A., N.R.G., A.R., and J.T.A.D. designed the study, A.A. collected data, A.A. and N.R.G. performed the analyses, A.A. wrote the first draft of the manuscript with substantial input from all authors, A.A., A.R., and N.R.G. contributed extensively to revisions, and all authors approved it for publication. Competing interests. We declare we have no competing interests. Funding. The Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) supported this study with grants to J.T.A.D. and A.R., respectively. Acknowledgements. We thank the School of Biological Sciences at Queen’s University Belfast, the Queen’s University Marine Laboratory, Julia Sigwart, Christine Maggs, and Bernie Curran for logistical support and Daniel Barrios-O’Neill for providing valuable feedback on an early draft of the manuscript.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 The Author(s).

Copyright 2020 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • invasive species
  • meta-analysis
  • naive prey
  • predator archetype
  • prey behaviour
  • prey naiveté

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Biochemistry,Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Immunology and Microbiology
  • General Environmental Science
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences


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