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Seriously, we're poisonous: Coloration is an honest signal of toxicity in poison frogs
Date:1/4/2012

January article highlights:

  • Seriously, we're poisonous: Coloration is an honest signal of toxicity in poison frogs
  • Bright Eyes: How butterflies recognize their compatriots in a world of mimics
  • Researchers show how a nest parasite can be a good thing for an ant colony
  • A rough start for a hatchling could mean duller plumage for life

For a complete list of articles in the January issue, go to www.journals.uchicago.edu/an

Seriously, we're poisonous: Coloration is an honest signal of toxicity in poison frogs

The conspicuous colors of poisonous frogs serve as a warning to predators: Don't eat me; I'm toxic. And a new study shows that in the case of at least one frog species, they aren't bluffingthe more conspicuous the color, the more poisonous the frog. Researchers Martine Maan (University of Groningen, the Netherlands) and Molly Cummings (University of Texas) studied strawberry poison dart frogs, which are native to Panama and come in more than a dozen different color patterns that vary from region to region. Maan and Cummings tested the toxicity levels of 10 differently colored frog populations. Then using known properties of birds' visual systems, the researchers estimated how each color pattern would look to a bird, an important frog predator. The results show that frogs with more conspicuous color patternsas seen by birdstended to be more toxic. The findings suggest that "birds can predict the toxicity of frogs by looking at their colors, possibly better than the frogs can themselves," Maan said.

Martine E. Maan and Molly E. Cummings, "Poison Frog Colors Are Honest Signals of Toxicity, Particularly for Bird Predators." The American Naturalist 179:1 (January 2012).


Bright Eyes: How butterflies recognize their compatriots in a world of mimics

Several species of butterflies have evolved a resemblance
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Contact: Kevin Stacey
kstacey@press.uchicago.edu
401-284-3878
University of Chicago Press Journals
Source:Eurekalert  

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