Purdue University

Bernal Lab

Danger comes from all fronts

March 2015

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The escape response of an organism is generally its last line of defense against a predator and it is expected to maximize the prey's chances of surviving an attack. We examined the escape responses of túngara frogs to predators approaching from different spatial planes: a terrestrial predator (snake) and an aerial predator (bat). We found that while the frogs fled away from snake models, they moved toward bat models. That is, the frogs effectively undercut the bat’s flight path. Our results reveal that prey escape trajectories reflect the specificity of their predators’ attacks. Check out this forthcoming study that emphasizes the flexibility of strategies performed by prey to outcompete predators with diverse modes of attack.

Bulbert, M.W., Page, P.A. & Bernal, X.E. 2015. Túngara frogs tailor escape tactics to mode of attack. PLoS One (PDF)