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Open AccessArticle

Information Dynamics in the Interaction between a Prey and a Predator Fish

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College of physics and electronic engineering, Chongqing Normal University, Chongqing 400047, China
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Laboratory of Evolutionary Physiology and Behavior, Chongqing Key Laboratory of Animal Biology, Chongqing Normal University, Chongqing 400047, China.
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Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: J. A. Tenreiro Machado
Entropy 2015, 17(10), 7230-7241; https://doi.org/10.3390/e17107230
Received: 29 July 2015 / Revised: 23 September 2015 / Accepted: 9 October 2015 / Published: 23 October 2015
(This article belongs to the Section Complexity)
Accessing information efficiently is vital for animals to make the optimal decisions, and it is particularly important when they are facing predators. Yet until now, very few quantitative conclusions have been drawn about the information dynamics in the interaction between animals due to the lack of appropriate theoretic measures. Here, we employ transfer entropy (TE), a new information-theoretic and model-free measure, to explore the information dynamics in the interaction between a predator and a prey fish. We conduct experiments in which a predator and a prey fish are confined in separate parts of an arena, but can communicate with each other visually and tactilely. TE is calculated on the pair’s coarse-grained state of the trajectories. We find that the prey’s TE is generally significantly bigger than the predator’s during trials, which indicates that the dominant information is transmitted from predator to prey. We then demonstrate that the direction of information flow is irrelevant to the parameters used in the coarse-grained procedures. We further calculate the prey’s TE at different distances between it and the predator. The resulted figure shows that there is a high plateau in the mid-range of the distance and that drops quickly at both the near and the far ends. This result reflects that there is a sensitive space zone where the prey is highly vigilant of the predator’s position. View Full-Text
Keywords: information transfer; predation dynamics; transfer entropy; vigilance zone information transfer; predation dynamics; transfer entropy; vigilance zone
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Hu, F.; Nie, L.-J.; Fu, S.-J. Information Dynamics in the Interaction between a Prey and a Predator Fish. Entropy 2015, 17, 7230-7241.

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