Multiple modalities in insect warning displays have additive effects against wild avian predators
Rojas Zuluaga, B., Mappes, J., & E., B.-S. (2019). Multiple modalities in insect warning displays have additive effects against wild avian predators. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, 73(3), Article 37. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00265-019-2643-6
Published inBehavioral Ecology and Sociobiology
DisciplineEkologia ja evoluutiobiologiaBiologisten vuorovaikutusten huippututkimusyksikköEcology and Evolutionary BiologyCentre of Excellence in Biological Interactions Research
© The Author(s) 2019
Allocation to different components of defence has been suggested as an explanation for the existence of multiple aposematic morphs in a single population. We tested whether there are trade-offs between warning colouration and chemical defence or whether these have an additive effect when combined, using blue tits (Cyanistes caeruleus) as predators and the polymorphic wood tiger moth (Arctia plantaginis) as prey. We used artificial edible models (with and without the moths’ defensive fluids) with paper wings whose colour and pattern properties matched those of real moths. When the models were presented sans defensive fluids or when the fluids were presented without colour cues, we detected no differences in initial avoidance between the two morphs. However, when the colour and chemical cues were combined, differences emerged. White wings elicited higher latency to approach regardless of the defensive fluids applied on them. After approach, however, the defensive fluids of both morphs presented on moth models elicited higher latency to attack than a water control, hinting at a repellent odour. Fluids of white moths rendered lower amounts of prey eaten regardless of wing colour, while yellow moths’ fluids provoked the highest occurrence of beak wiping behaviour. Our findings highlight the importance of accounting for interactive effects between different signal modalities, as these can create patterns not detectable when examined in isolation. Understanding these interactions is vital to determine how different components of multimodal warning displays provide protection at different stages of a predation event and, potentially, how multiple morphs can co-occur in a population. ...
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Related funder(s)Academy of Finland
Funding program(s)Centre of Excellence, AoF
Additional information about fundingThis study was funded by the Academy of Finland via the Centre of Excellence in Biological Interactions (Project No. 252411). BR is currently funded by the Academy of Finland (Academy Research Fellowship, Project No. 21000042021).
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