Decisions, decisions… How educated predators can affect the evolution of aposematism and mimicry

Friday seminar by Candy Rowe


Aposematic prey advertise the toxins that they contain using conspicuous warning coloration. Naive predators learn to associate the warning coloration with the toxicity and reduce their attack rates on defended prey. However, avoidance does not appear to be absolute: 'educated' predators in the wild continue to ingest aposematic prey, particularly when they are hungry. This suggests that predators trade off the costs of eating toxins with the benefits of eating nutrients, and that it is sometimes beneficial for predators to eat aposematic prey in order to acquire nutrients that they need. This talk will explore how important nutrients are in educated predators' decisions to eat toxic prey, and the impact this has on the evolutionary dynamics of aposematism and mimicry.

Candy Rowe
Reader in Animal Behaviour & Cognition
The Institute of Neuroscience
Newcastle University

Published June 14, 2013 1:12 PM - Last modified Oct. 25, 2019 10:08 AM