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Advantages of aposematism

  • Category
    Environment
  • Published
    18th Apr, 2022

Context

Few animals and reptiles (such as frogs, snakes and butterflies), brightly coloured for self defence, uses smart tactic such as aposematism, to save themselves from prey.

About

What is Aposematism?

  • The word aposematic is derived from the Greek (‘apo’ standing for ‘away’, and ‘sematic’ standing for ‘sign’).
  • Sometimes, animals pursue the very opposite tactic to avoid being eaten by predators.
  • Instead of merging into the background, they actually aggressively advertise themselves through colouration or shape that they are not worth eating.
  • The brightly coloured animal could be toxic, taste bad, smell foul or have spines or just be too aggressive
  • Perceiving that there is no profit in eating them the prey leaves them alone.
  • This tactic is called aposematism and the animal which pursues this is aposematic.
  • The most common colours are red, yellow, black and white.

Examples:

  • The ladybird and the tiger moth are bitter to eat.
  • The poison dart frog has poisonous glands which can cause pain and the skunk has a foul-smelling odour.
  • The hornet moth which looks like the yellowjacket wasp. The predator is fooled into thinking that the moth will sting it and so it leaves the moth alone.
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