Signal honesty and predation risk among a closely related group of aposematic species
Arenas, Lina María
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Arenas, L. M., Walter, D., & Stevens, M. (2015). Signal honesty and predation risk among a closely related group of aposematic species. Scientific Reports, 5 (11021)https://doi.org/10.1038/srep11021
This is the final version of the article. It first appeared from NPG via http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/srep11021
Many animals have bright colours to warn predators that they have defences and are not worth attacking. However, it remains unclear whether the strength of warning colours reliably indicate levels of defence. Few studies have unambiguously established if warning signals are honest, and have rarely considered predator vision or conspicuousness against the background. Importantly, little data exists either on how differences in signal strength translate into survival advantages. Ladybirds exhibit impressive variation in coloration both among and within species. Here we demonstrate that different levels of toxicity exist among and within ladybird species, and that signal contrast against the background is a good predictor of toxicity, showing that the colours are honest signals. Furthermore, field experiments with ladybird models created with regards to predator vision show that models with lower conspicuousness were attacked more frequently. This provides one of the most comprehensive studies on signal honesty in warning coloration to date.
Behavioural ecology, Evolution
LMA was funded by the University of Cambridge and Colciencias—Colombia. MS was supported by a Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) David Phillips Research Fellowship (BB/G022887/1).
External DOI: https://doi.org/10.1038/srep11021
This record's URL: https://www.repository.cam.ac.uk/handle/1810/248369
Attribution 2.0 UK: England & Wales
Licence URL: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/uk/
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