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Ecological scientists assess the fundamentals of animal behavior
Date:8/1/2010

In this time of global change, understanding the basics of animal behavior and environmental interactions is just as important as predicting and planning for widespread impacts. Ecological scientists will assess the fundamentals of animal behaviorsuch as plant toxin detection in bushbaby foragingand current adaptations to global changelike defense mechanisms of native lizards to red imported fire ant attacks and the role of antioxidants and radiation in barn swallow reproductionat the Ecological Society of America's (ESA) 95th Annual Meeting in Pittsburgh from August 1-6, 2010. Below is a sampling of some of the research to be presented on animal behavior:

Plant toxin detection in bushbaby foraging

Foraging animals face many obstacles when obtaining foodnot the least of which is avoiding predators and poisonous plants, or at least limiting the intake of toxins. Clare McArthur from the University of Sydney and colleagues filmed the fruit-eating omnivorous primate, the thick-tailed bushbaby, as it foraged at night in forests at the Lajuma Nature Reserve, South Africa.

The bushbabies chose between a food patch hidden in a tree that contained various low concentrations of the plant toxin cineole, and a non-toxic food patch located near fresh leopard scatindicating the nearby presence of predators. According to research to be presented at ESA's Annual Meeting, the bushbabies' behavior indicated a foraging "tipping point." That is, to the bushbabies, the danger of eating food with five percent cineole was equivalent to the perceived risk of leopards on the ground.

The contributed oral session "Bushbaby foraging ecology: walking the tightrope between predation risk and plant toxins" led by Clare McArthur, University of Sydney, will be held Thursday, August 5, 2010 at 3:40 pm.

Other sessions on foraging and feeding include:

The poster session "Does the snake-mimic morphology of tiger swallowtail larvae repel p
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Contact: Katie Kline
katie@esa.org
202-833-8773 x211
Ecological Society of America
Source:Eurekalert

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