Navigation Links
Skunk's strategy not just black and white
Date:11/11/2009

Predators with experience of skunks avoid them both because of their black-and-white coloration and their distinctive body shape, according to UC Davis wildlife researcher Jennifer Hunter. The study was published online Oct. 21 in the journal Behavioral Ecology.

Hunter wanted to know how predators know a skunk is a skunk. Biologists had assumed that the distinctive black-and-white color scheme was a marker saying, "keep away."

Hunter prepared taxidermy mounts of skunks and of gray foxes, an animal about the same size but a distinctly different shape. Some of the stuffed skunks she dyed gray, and some of the foxes she dyed black-and-white. She then placed the animals at 10 sites around California -- in locations where skunks were abundant as well in areas where they were uncommon -- and monitored them with infrared video cameras.

In locations where wild skunks were not commonly found, predators such as bears, mountain lions, bobcats and coyotes would approach, lick, roll on or attempt to drag away the stuffed skunks as well as the stuffed foxes. But in places where skunks were common, potential predators gave anything skunk-like, either in shape or color, a wide berth.

"They wouldn't go near them," Hunter said.

The results suggest a much stronger learning component in prey recognition than was previously thought, Hunter said. She was also surprised to find that body shape, not just color, was important. Previous studies, mostly conducted in the laboratory rather than in the wild, had suggested that animals have an inbuilt tendency to avoid brightly colored or multicolored prey.

The study also raises the question: Does anything actually eat skunks? Possibly not, Hunter thinks.

While numbers of most animals are controlled by predators above them in the food chain, skunks may be a rare example where the main check on their numbers comes from disease, food supply or lack of habitat -- factors that depend mainly on the number of skunks themselves.


'/>"/>

Contact: Andy Fell
ahfell@ucdavis.edu
530-752-4533
University of California - Davis
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. New strategy for mending broken hearts?
2. Strategy outlined for growing bioenergy while protecting wildlife
3. IEEE-USA President endorses national innovation strategy
4. Science Coalition commends Presidents strategy for innovation
5. New strategy for inhibiting virus replication
6. A combined tooth-venom arsenal revealed as key to Komodo dragons hunting strategy
7. New therapeutic strategy could target toxic protein in most patients with Huntingtons disease
8. Therapeutic hypothermia is promising strategy to minimize tissue damage
9. RNA research strategy for Europe takes shape
10. Hope for a rabies eradication strategy in Africa
11. Mitochondria could be a target for therapeutic strategy for Alzheimers disease patients
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:5/6/2017)... RAM Group , Singaporean based ... in biometric authentication based on a novel  ... to perform biometric authentication. These new sensors are based on ... Ram Group and its partners. This sensor will have ... and security. Ram Group is a next generation ...
(Date:4/18/2017)... Calif. , April 18, 2017  Socionext Inc., a global ... of a media edge server, the M820, which features the company,s ... recognition software provided by Tera Probe, Inc., will be showcased during ... at the NAB show at the Las Vegas ... ...
(Date:4/13/2017)... 2017 According to a new market research report ... Identity Administration, and Authorization), Service, Authentication Type, Deployment Mode, Vertical, and Region ... expected to grow from USD 14.30 Billion in 2017 to USD 31.75 ... ... MarketsandMarkets Logo ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/11/2017)... ... October 11, 2017 , ... Singh ... orphan drug designation to SBT-100, its novel anti-STAT3 (Signal Transducer and Activator of ... SBT-100 is able to cross the cell membrane and bind intracellular STAT3 and ...
(Date:10/10/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... October 10, 2017 , ... Dr. Bob ... at his local San Diego Rotary Club. The event entitled “Stem ... CA and had 300+ attendees. Dr. Harman, DVM, MPVM was joined by two ...
(Date:10/10/2017)... ... 2017 , ... The Pittcon Program Committee is pleased to ... who have made outstanding contributions to analytical chemistry and applied spectroscopy. Each award ... conference and exposition for laboratory science, which will be held February 26-March 1, ...
(Date:10/9/2017)... ... October 09, 2017 , ... ... of medical marijuana products targeting the needs of consumers who are incorporating medical ... takes place in Phoenix, Arizona. , As operators of two successful Valley dispensaries, ...
Breaking Biology Technology: