The Role of Carrion in the Landscapes of Fear and Disgust: A Review and Prospects
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CarcassConfrontational scavengingDisease riskFacultative scavengerLandscape of perilMarine ecosystemsParasite riskPredator riskTerrestrial ecosystems
Sánchez-Zapata, J.A. The Role of Carrion in the Landscapes of Fear and Disgust: A Review and Prospects. Diversity 2021, 13, 28. [https://doi.org/10.3390/d13010028]
SponsorshipRamón y Cajal from the MINECO RYC-2015-19231; Spanish Ministry of Economy, Industry and Competitiveness; EU ERDF funds CGL2015-66966-C2-1-2-R CGL2017-89905-R
Animal behavior is greatly shaped by the ‘landscape of fear’, induced by predation risk, and the equivalent ‘landscape of disgust’, induced by parasitism or infection risk. However, the role that carrion may play in these landscapes of peril has been largely overlooked. Here, we aim to emphasize that animal carcasses likely represent ubiquitous hotspots for both predation and infection risk, thus being an outstanding paradigm of how predation and parasitism pressures can concur in space and time. By conducting a literature review, we highlight the manifold inter- and intraspecific interactions linked to carrion via predation and parasitism risks, which may affect not only scavengers, but also non-scavengers. However, we identified major knowledge gaps, as reviewed articles were highly biased towards fear, terrestrial environments, vertebrates, and behavioral responses. Based on the reviewed literature, we provide a conceptual framework on the main fearand disgust-based interaction pathways associated with carrion resources. This framework may be used to formulate predictions about how the landscape of fear and disgust around carcasses might influence animals’ individual behavior and ecological processes, from population to ecosystem functioning. We encourage ecologists, evolutionary biologists, epidemiologists, forensic scientists, and conservation biologists to explore the promising research avenues associated with the scary and disgusting facets of carrion. Acknowledging the multiple trophic and non-trophic interactions among dead and live animals, including both herbivores and carnivores, will notably improve our understanding of the overlapping pressures that shape the landscape of fear and disgust.