Predator cues and prey responses: a test using Eastern Garter Snakes (Thamnophis s. sirtalis) and American Toads (Bufo a. americanus)

TitlePredator cues and prey responses: a test using Eastern Garter Snakes (Thamnophis s. sirtalis) and American Toads (Bufo a. americanus)
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication1995
AuthorsHeinen JThomas
JournalCopeia
Volume1995
Issue3
Pagination738-741
KeywordsVERTEBRATES
Abstract

In summary, these results indicate that stereotypical antipredator mechanisms reported in newly metamorphosed toads and other amphibians are advantageous in making prey more difficult to detect by a predator that is at least partly visually oriented. It appears that selection acts to avoid visual detection and subsequent tongue contact by the predator. Cryptic behaviors affect the strength of the stimulus used by the predator in locating prey, a prey characteristic discussed by Holling. The result is to minimize detection, the first stage of predation described by Endler. Given that the predator has two important sensory modes it is possible that toads and other amphibian prey also use chemical cryptic behaviors, such as the active choice of substrates permeated with prey chemical cues, but there has been little effort to document this to date.