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Variation in predator species abundance can cause variable selection pressure on warning signaling prey
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2012 (English)In: Ecology and Evolution, ISSN 2045-7758, Vol. 2, no 8, 1971-1976 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Predation pressure is expected to drive visual warning signals to evolve toward conspicuousness. However, coloration of defended species varies tremendously and can at certain instances be considered as more camouflaged rather than conspicuous. Recent theoretical studies suggest that the variation in signal conspicuousness can be caused by variation (within or between species) in predators' willingness to attack defended prey or by the broadness of the predators' signal generalization. If some of the predator species are capable of coping with the secondary defenses of their prey, selection can favor reduced prey signal conspicuousness via reduced detectability or recognition. In this study, we combine data collected during three large-scale field experiments to assess whether variation in avian predator species (red kite, black kite, common buzzard, short-toed eagle, and booted eagle) affects the predation pressure on warningly and non-warningly colored artificial snakes. Predation pressure varied among locations and interestingly, if common buzzards were abundant, there were disadvantages to snakes possessing warning signaling. Our results indicate that predator community can have important consequences on the evolution of warning signals. Predators that ignore the warning signal and defense can be the key for the maintenance of variation in warning signal architecture and maintenance of inconspicuous signaling.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2012. Vol. 2, no 8, 1971-1976 p.
Keyword [en]
Aposematism, predation, selection, snake, viper, warning signal
National Category
Natural Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-192086DOI: 10.1002/ece3.315ISI: 000312448700017OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-192086DiVA: diva2:588911
Available from: 2013-01-16 Created: 2013-01-16 Last updated: 2013-01-16Bibliographically approved

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Björklund, Mats
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Animal Ecology
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