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Animal Defense against Predators

Animal Defense against Predators

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Animal Defense against Predators

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  1. Animal Defense against Predators

  2. Diversity of Antipredator Behaviours Some antipredator adaptations Anti-detection crypsis, camouflage Anti-attack stotting in Thompson’s gazelles warning colouration and mimicry selfish herds Anti-capture run, swim or fly fast vigilance body part autotomy (e.g., tail loss in lizards) Anti-consumption fighting back releasing noxious chemicals hard to swallow (e.g., inflation by puffer fish) feigning death

  3. Body Size

  4. Body Protection

  5. Adaptive Significance of Mobbing Birds sometimes defend their nest or colony by “mobbing”—flying low over a predator, sometimes hitting the predator with their wings or legs, and even defecating or regurgitating food on it. Does mobbing actually deter predation? The data show that it does, presumably by distracting the predators (crows). There is greater mobbing within the colony and this is correlated with lower predation attempt success

  6. Warning behaviours: springbok antelope Hypothesis:Stotting is used by gazelle to advertise to the predator that it is “unpalatable” – i.e., you couldn’t catch me so don’t even bother trying Predict that when stotting occurs predator should abandon pursuit.

  7. Stotting in Thomson’s gazelles

  8. The Selfish Herd. 1 ? Predation selects for bunching up—“selfish herding”

  9. Selfish Herding in Whirligig Beetles

  10. Mayfly Emergence: Dilution Effect

  11. Group Formation & Vigilance

  12. Group Formation & Vigilance There can be costs to grouping. Sparrows feeding close to cover are less likely to make a “food here” chirrup call which attracts other sparrows. If predation risk is low they maximise fitness by not calling.

  13. Chemical Defenses • Animals which synthesize their own toxin are able to convert chemical compounds in their body to a poison. • There are many amphibians that produce skin toxins. The skin toxins are produced by special poison glands, usually located on the animal's back or throughout the skin. Photo courtesy of Dr. John Daly The poison dart frog has poison glands scattered all over its body.

  14. Chemical Defenses In another example, the fire salamander makes a nerve poison, which it can squirt from glands on its back. Photo courtesy of Henk Wallays, Cal. Acad. of Sciences.

  15. Chemical Defenses Many animals accumulate toxin from their food rather than synthesizing it from scratch. For example, the larvae of Monarch butterflies accumulate toxins from the plants they inhabit.  Birds that eat the Monarchs vomit and learn to avoid them in the future.  Their bright coloration allows birds to remember and avoid them.  Photo courtesy of T. W. Davies, Cal. Acad. of Sciences.

  16. Warning Coloration This is called “aposematic coloration”, and is widely used among the insects and amphibians. The Cream-spot Tiger is aposematically colored.

  17. 2. Camouflage Animals that camouflage themselves pretend to be something they are not. Either their coloration, marking patterns, or entire bodyresembles something else in their environment, here a leaf, an owl.

  18. Camouflage Here an aptly named walking stick pretends to be a twig, in an attempt to avoid being seen by a bird or other predator. This is an example of cryptic coloration. Photo courtesy of Dr. Lloyd Glenn Ingles, Cal. Acad. of Sciences.

  19. Disruptive Coloration In this picture, a four-eyed butterfly fish uses deceptive markings. The large spot near the tail resembles an eye. When predators attack the wrong end, the butterfly fish can swim away in the other direction!

  20. Camouflage Predators Frogfish resembles a sponge. Small fish swimming nearby will be engulfed in the frogfish’s enormous mouth!

  21. Mimicry In mimicry, an organism (the mimic) closely resembles another organism (the model) in order to deceive a third, (the operator). Batesian mimicryoccurs when an edible mimic resembles an unpalatable or poisonous model. In this type of mimicry, only the mimic benefits. An example of Batesian mimicry is the scarlet king snake, a non-poisonous mimic of the extremely venemous coral snake. Above: scarlet king snake Right: coral snake Photo courtesy of John H. Tashjian, Cal. Acad. of Sciences.

  22. Mimicry Mullerian mimicry occurs when two (or more) distasteful or poisonous organisms resemble each other. Both species benefit because a predator who learns to avoid one species will most likely avoid the other, too. The two invertebrates on the left are different species of sea slugs, while the one on the right is a marine flatworm. All three secrete noxious substances and are unpalatable.