By Thomas N. Sherratt, Graeme D. Ruxton, Michael P. Speed

ISBN-10: 0198528604

ISBN-13: 9780198528609

This booklet discusses the variety of mechanisms during which prey keep away from assault by means of predators and questions how such protective mechanisms have advanced via typical choice. It considers how strength prey stay away from detection, how they make themselves unprofitable to assault, how they sign their unprofitability, and the way different species have exploited those signs. utilizing rigorously chosen examples drawn from quite a lot of species and ecosystems, the authors current a severe research of crucial released works within the box. Illustrative examples of camouflage, mimicry and caution indications usually seem in undergraduate ecology textbooks, yet those topics are not often thought of extensive. This booklet summarizes the various most recent study into those interesting variations, constructing mathematical types the place acceptable and making thoughts for the main urgently wanted amazing components of enquiry.

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Additional resources for Avoiding Attack: The Evolutionary Ecology of Crypsis, Warning Signals and Mimicry

Example text

3 Direct empirical tests of the advantages of countershading One way to examine the hypothesis of defensive countershading by self-shadow concealment is to test the prediction that, when illuminated from above, a countershaded animal does indeed appear to be uniformly shaded when viewed from the side. Since the grey squirrel was a species identified by Thayer as an example of countershading, Kiltie (1989) used it as a case study to test this prediction. Taxidermic mounts of the squirrel were illuminated from above and photographs were then taken when the mounts were placed horizontally (as if running along a branch parallel to the ground) and vertically (as if running up the trunk of a tree, perpendicular to the ground).

2 Self-shadow concealment and countershading Although Poulton (1888) arguably originated the idea of self-shadow concealment, it is more usually attributed to the painter and naturalist Abbot H. Thayer (1896). Thayer proposed a ‘beautiful law of nature’ which he described as ‘the law of gradation in the coloring of animals . . responsible for most of the phenomena of protective colouration except those properly called mimicry’. Thayer noted that ‘animals are painted by nature, darkest on those parts which tend to be most lighted by the sky’s light, and vice versa’; and, according to Thayer, this pattern of countershading ‘makes an animal appear not to exist at all’.

Characteristic that appears to help predators identify masquerading moths is their bilateral symmetry. Hence, many moths that resemble leaves also hold their wings in an asymmetric posture (PrestonMafham and Preston-Mafham, 1993). There is also a methodological challenge to studying masquerade. Say we observe a herbivore passing over a plant that mimics a stone. e. e. detecting it as an entity but misclassifying it as a stone)? Unless you can read the herbivore’s mind, it is hard to know. As Getty (1987) notes ‘we do not have good operational definitions that allow us to recognize and count encounters and rejections unambiguously’.

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Avoiding Attack: The Evolutionary Ecology of Crypsis, Warning Signals and Mimicry by Thomas N. Sherratt, Graeme D. Ruxton, Michael P. Speed


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