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Lookup NU author(s): Dr John Skelhorn
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).
Camoufage is the most common form of antipredator defense, and is a textbook example of natural selection. How animals’ appearances prevent detection or recognition is well studied, but the role of prey behavior has received much less attention. Here we report a series of experiments with twig-mimicking larvae of the American peppered moth Biston betularia that test the long-held view that prey have evolved postures that enhance their camouflage, and establish how food availability and ambient temperature affect these postures. We found that predators took longer to attack larvae that were resting in a twig-like posture than larvae resting fat against a branch. Larvae that were chilled or food restricted (manipulations intended to energetically stress larvae) adopted a less twig-like posture than larvae that were fed ad libitum. Our findings provide clear evidence that animals gain antipredator benefits from postural camouflage, and suggest that benefits may come at an energetic cost that animals are unwilling or unable to pay under some conditions.
Author(s): Rowland HM, Burriss RP, Skelhorn J
Publication type: Article
Publication status: Published
Journal: Scientific Reports
Print publication date: 10/12/2020
Online publication date: 10/12/2020
Acceptance date: 27/11/2020
Date deposited: 10/12/2020
ISSN (electronic): 2045-2322
Publisher: Nature Publishing Group
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