Food webs are overlaid with infochemical webs that mediate direct and indirect interactions. The infochemicals may result in shifts in trait values, which affect the strength of species interactions. As a consequence, population dynamics and evolutionary changes can be affected. Chemical information can mediate the interactions between animals and their resources, competitors and enemies. Of all chemical information gathered by animals, cues about predation risk are of special significance because predation risk usually has important and immediate consequences on fitness. In this paper we selectively review the role of chemical information in enemy avoidance by arthropods. Arthropods not only constitute important components of food webs, being the largest group in numbers and species diversity; they also make excellent models for ecological studies. We discuss the evidence, the key mechanisms, and the trade-offs involved in chemical detection of enemies by potential arthropod prey. Further, we address the variation in prey responses and the evidence for learning in avoiding enemies by arthropods. Finally, we identify and prioritize major questions to be tackled by future studies.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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