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Evolution of switchable aposematism: insights from individual-based simulations

Title
Evolution of switchable aposematism: insights from individual-based simulations
Authors
Song, WoncheolLee, Sang-imJablonski, Piotr G.
DGIST Authors
Lee, Sang-im
Issue Date
2020-04
Citation
PeerJ, 8, e8915
Type
Article
Article Type
Article
Author Keywords
AposematismStartleDeimatismSimulationModelEvolutionSwitchablePost-attackPre-attack
Keywords
WARNING SIGNALSPREDATOR AVOIDANCEDEIMATIC DISPLAYTASTE-AVERSIONSURVIVALCOLORATIONBEHAVIORBIOLUMINESCENCECOEVOLUTIONAUTOMIMICRY
ISSN
2167-8359
Abstract
Some defended prey animals can switch on their normally hidden aposematic signals. This switching may occur in reaction to predators' approach (pre-attack signals) or attack (post-attack signals). Switchable aposematism has been relatively poorly studied, but we can expect that it might bring a variety of benefits to an aposmetic organism. First, the switching could startle the predators (deimatism). Second, it could facilitate aversive learning. Third, it could minimize exposure or energetic expense, as the signal can be switched off. These potential benefits might offset costs of developing, maintaining and utilizing the switchable traits. Here we focused on the third benefit of switchability, the cost-saving aspect, and developed an individual-based computer simulation of predators and prey. In 88,128 model runs, we observed evolution of permanent, pre-attack, or post-attack aposematic signals of varying strength. We found that, in general, the pre-attack switchable aposematism may require moderate predator learning speed, high basal detectability, and moderate to high signal cost. On the other hand, the post-attack signals may arise under slow predator learning, low basal detectability and high signal cost. When predator population turnover is fast, it may lead to evolution of post-attack aposematic signals that are not conforming to the above tendency. We also suggest that a high switching cost may exert different selection pressure on the pre-attack than the post-attack switchable strategies. To our knowledge, these are the first theoretical attempts to systematically explore the evolution of switchable aposematism relative to permanent aposematism in defended prey. Our simulation model is capable of addressing additional questions beyond the scope of this article, and we open the simulation software, program manual and source code for free public use. © 2020 Song et al.
URI
http://hdl.handle.net/20.500.11750/11815
DOI
10.7717/peerj.8915
Publisher
PeerJ
Related Researcher
Files:
Collection:
Department of New BiologyLab of Integrative Animal Ecology1. Journal Articles


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