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Natural visual cues eliciting predator avoidance in fiddler crabs

Publiceringsår: 2011
Språk: Engelska
Sidor: 3584-3592
Publikation/Tidskrift/Serie: Royal Society of London. Proceedings B. Biological Sciences
Volym: 278
Nummer: 1724
Dokumenttyp: Artikel i tidskrift
Förlag: Royal Society


To efficiently provide an animal with relevant information, the design of its visual system should reflect

the distribution of natural signals and the animal’s tasks. In many behavioural contexts, however, we

know comparatively little about the moment-to-moment information-processing challenges animals face

in their daily lives. In predator avoidance, for instance, we lack an accurate description of the natural

signal stream and its value for risk assessment throughout the prey’s defensive behaviour.We characterized

the visual signals generated by real, potentially predatory events by video-recording bird approaches towards

an Uca vomeris colony. Using four synchronized cameras allowed us to simultaneously monitor predator

avoidance responses of crabs. We reconstructed the signals generated by dangerous and non-dangerous

flying animals, identified the cues that triggered escape responses and compared them with those triggering

responses to dummy predators. Fiddler crabs responded to a combination of multiple visual cues

(including retinal speed, elevation and visual flicker) that reflect the visual signatures of distinct bird and

insect behaviours. This allowed crabs to discriminate between dangerous and non-dangerous events. The

results demonstrate the importance of measuring natural sensory signatures of biologically relevant

events in order to understand biological information processing and its effects on behavioural organization.


  • Zoology
  • fiddler crabs
  • Uca vomeris
  • predator avoidance
  • vision
  • natural visual signals


  • Lund Vision Group
  • ISSN: 1471-2954

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