"Freshwater killer whales": beaching behavior of an alien fish to hunt land birds

Abstract : The behavioral strategies developed by predators to capture and kill their prey are fascinating, notably for predators that forage for prey at, or beyond, the boundaries of their ecosystem. We report here the occurrence of a beaching behavior used by an alien and large-bodied freshwater predatory fish (Silurus glanis) to capture birds on land (i.e. pigeons, Columbia livia). Among a total of 45 beaching behaviors observed and filmed, 28% were successful in bird capture. Stable isotope analyses (δ¹³C and δ¹⁵N) of predators and their putative prey revealed a highly variable dietary contribution of land birds among individuals. Since this extreme behavior has not been reported in the native range of the species, our results suggest that some individuals in introduced predator populations may adapt their behavior to forage on novel prey in new environments, leading to behavioral and trophic specialization to actively cross the water-land interface.
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Julien Cucherousset, Stéphanie Boulêtreau, Frédéric Azémar, Arthur Compin, Mathieu Guillaume, et al.. "Freshwater killer whales": beaching behavior of an alien fish to hunt land birds. PLoS ONE, Public Library of Science, 2012, vol. 7, pp. 1-6. ⟨10.1371/journal.pone.0050840⟩. ⟨hal-00912704⟩

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