Document Detail

Pyrazine odour makes visually conspicuous prey aversive.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  11209885     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
Unpalatable insects frequently adopt multimodal signals to ward off predators, incorporating sounds and odours into their colourful displays. Pyrazine is an odour commonly used in insect warning displays, and has previously been shown to elicit unlearned biases against common warning colours, e.g. yellow and red in naive predators. We designed two experiments to test for similar effects of pyrazine on the conspicuousness of prey, perhaps the most ubiquitous aspect of aposematic coloration. In the first experiment, we offered predators (Gallus gallus domesticus) a choice between conspicuous crumbs and cryptic crumbs in the presence or absence of pyrazine. In the second experiment, we manipulated the birds' experience of conspicuous prey during an initial training phase. Only in the presence of pyrazine did birds show a bias against conspicuously coloured food, and this occurred whether or not they had previously experienced food that contrasted with the background. This emergent behaviour relied upon the visual and odorous signal components being presented together. These unlearned, yet hidden, responses against conspicuousness demonstrate that there are initial benefits to prey being conspicuous when the multimodal nature of warning signals is accounted for.
L Lindström; C Rowe; T Guilford
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Proceedings. Biological sciences / The Royal Society     Volume:  268     ISSN:  0962-8452     ISO Abbreviation:  Proc. Biol. Sci.     Publication Date:  2001 Jan 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2001-02-07     Completed Date:  2001-06-28     Revised Date:  2010-09-14    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  101245157     Medline TA:  Proc Biol Sci     Country:  England    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  159-62     Citation Subset:  IM    
Department of Biological and Environmental Science, University of Fyväskylä, Finland.
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MeSH Terms
Avoidance Learning*
Feeding Behavior*
Predatory Behavior / physiology*
Pyrazines / pharmacology*
Reg. No./Substance:

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