Navigation Links
Predators drive the evolution of poison dart frogs' skin patterns
Date:11/21/2011

This release is available in French.

MONTRAL, November 21, 2011 Natural selection has played a role in the development of the many skins patterns of the tiny Ranitomeya imitator poison dart frog, according to a study that will be published in an upcoming edition of American Naturalist by University of Montreal biologist Mathieu Chouteau. The researcher's methodology was rather unusual: on three occasions over three days, at two different sites, Chouteau investigated the number of attacks that had been made on fake frogs, by counting how many times that had been pecked. Those that were attacked the least looked like local frogs, while those that came from another area had obviously been targeted.

The brightly coloured frogs that we find in tropical forests are in fact sending a clear message to predators: "don't come near me, I'm poisonous!" But why would a single species need multiple patterns when one would do? It appears that when predators do not recognize a poisonous frog as being a member of the local group, it attacks in the hope that it has chanced upon edible prey. "When predators see that their targets are of a different species, they attack. Over the long term, that explains how patterns and colours become uniform in an area," said Bernard Angers, who directed Chouteau's doctoral research.

A total of 3,600 life-size plasticine models, each less than one centimetre long, were used in the study. The menagerie was divided between two carefully identified sites in the Amazon forest. "The trickiest part was transporting my models without arousing suspicion at the airport and customs controls," Chouteau said. He chose plasticine following a review of scientific literature. "Many scientists have successfully used plasticine to create models of snakes, salamanders and poison dart frogs." The Peruvian part of the forest proved to be ideal for this study, as two radically different looking groups of frogs are found there: one, living on a plain, has yellow stripes, and the other, living on a mountain, has green patches. The two colonies are ten kilometers apart. 900 fake frogs were placed in each area in carefully targeted positions. Various combinations of colours and patterns were used.

Chouteau was particularly surprised by the "very small spatial scale at which the evolutionary process has taken place." Ten kilometers of separation sufficed for a clearly different adaptation to take place. "A second surprise was the learning abilities of the predator community, especially the speed at which the learning process takes place when a new and exotic defensive signal is introduced on a massive scale," Chouteau said.

This process could be at origin of the wide range of colour patterns that are observed not only in frogs but also many species of butterflies, bees, and other animals. Mathieu Chouteau is in fact currently undertaking post-doctoral research into the Heliconius genus of butterfly. "Considering that this kind of project requires regular field work, I have taken up residence in the small town of Tarapoto, where I am responsible for the opening of a research centre that will facilitate the study of neotropical butterfly mimicry," he said.


'/>"/>

Contact: William Raillant-Clark
w.raillant-clark@umontreal.ca
514-343-7593
University of Montreal
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. Hind wings help butterflies make swift turns to evade predators, study finds
2. As super-predators, humans reshape their prey at super-natural speeds
3. Sexy or repulsive? Butterfly wings can be both to mates and predators
4. Predators ignore peculiar prey
5. Siberian jays use complex communication to mob predators
6. Venomous sea snakes play heads or tails with their predators
7. Lizards change their diet to avoid predators
8. Move over predators: Plants can control the food chain too -- from the bottom up
9. Return of top predators is key to ecological future
10. Making its predators tremble: Multiple defenses act synergistically in aspen
11. Cycad pest uses small size to hide from predators
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Predators drive the evolution of poison dart frogs' skin patterns
(Date:3/21/2016)... WAKEFIELD, Massachusetts , March 22, 2016 ... and facial recognition with passcodes for superior security ... MESG ), a leading provider of secure digital communications ... pilot their biometric technology and offer enterprise customers, particularly ... provide secure facial recognition and voice authentication within a ...
(Date:3/17/2016)... March 17, 2016 ABI Research, the ... the global biometrics market will reach more than ... increase from 2015. Consumer electronics, particularly smartphones, continue ... sensors anticipated to reach two billion shipments by ... Dimitrios Pavlakis , Research Analyst at ABI Research. ...
(Date:3/15/2016)... Yissum Research Development Company of the Hebrew University ... University, announced today the formation of Neteera Technologies ... biological indicators. Neteera Technologies has completed its first round ... Neteera,s ... from sweat ducts, enables reliable and speedy biometric identification, ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:5/2/2016)... , ... May 02, 2016 , ... StarNet Communications Corp, ... announced the addition of three Secure Remote Desktop modules to its flagship X-Win32 PC ... from Linux and Unix servers to the user’s PC over encrypted SSH. , Traditionally, ...
(Date:4/29/2016)... ... ... The MIT bioLogic design team has won multiple A' Design Awards ... applied to fabric and formed into living interfaces between body and environment. They found ... team harvested Natto cells and applied them to fabric with custom 3D printers.The cell-infused ...
(Date:4/29/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... April 29, 2016 , ... ... medical devices used in spinal surgical procedures, today announced the completion of a ... value proposition for current and future customers and partners. Kohlberg & Company, ...
(Date:4/29/2016)... ... 2016 , ... During a two day program for start-up ... CereScan’s CEO, John Kelley, joined other Denver business leaders in providing business basics ... Denver area business community, shared his top fundamental learnings in building an effective, ...
Breaking Biology Technology: