Prey vulnerability in relation to sexual coloration of prey

  title={Prey vulnerability in relation to sexual coloration of prey},
  author={Anders Pape M{\o}ller and Jan T{\o}ttrup Nielsen},
  journal={Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology},
Sexual selection that results in the evolution of exaggerated secondary sexual characters has been hypothesized to impose production and maintenance costs of such traits on their bearers. Costs arising from sexual selection could increase the intensity of predator-mediated natural selection, leading to the prediction that species with exaggerated secondary sexual characters should be particularly susceptible to predation. We tested this prediction in a comparative analysis based on 31,745 prey… 

Flight initiation distances in relation to sexual dichromatism and body size in birds from three continents

FID differed among continents and the relative difference in FID between sexually monochromatic and sexually dichromatic species was larger in Europe than in Australia and North America, which may be attributed to latitudinal effects of predation.

Genetic variation in birds in relation to predation risk by hawks: A comparative analysis

Findings indicate that prey species with high band sharing coefficients, and hence low levels of ge- netic variation, are more readily caught by avian predators, and predation may constitute a major cost of low level of genetic variation.

Intensity of Melanin-Based Color and Risk of Predation in the Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica

It is suggested that Barn Swallows with long tails that fail to deposit large amounts of melanin in their tail feathers run an elevated risk of predation.

Sex differences in lizard escape decisions vary with latitude, but not sexual dimorphism

It is hypothesized that this sex difference in risk-taking behaviour is linked to sex-specific environmental constraints that more strongly affect the reproductive effort of females than males, and has important implications for responses to climate change and for the relative roles of natural and sexual selection in different species.

Spatial consistency in susceptibility of prey species to predation by two Accipiter hawks

It is suggested that hawks impose similar selection pressures on their prey populations, and that the degree of consistency in the goshawk was higher than in the sparrowhawk, which has implications for intensity of interspecific killing.

Malaria and risk of predation: a comparative study of birds.

It is demonstrated that protozoan infections are a common cause of death for hosts mediated by increased risk of predation, and predation is an important factor affecting parasite-host dynamics because predators tend to prey on hosts that are more likely to be infected, thereby reducing the transmission success of parasites.

Causes of interspecific variation in susceptibility to cat preda­tion on birds

Findings suggest that predation by cats has been an important selection pressure affecting anti-predation behavior, sexual display and immune function in common birds.

Sexual signals, risk of predation and escape behavior

It is suggested that exposure to risk of predation has modified escape behavior in relation to sexual coloration, and species with the most exaggerated signals should expect to have evolved antipredator behavior that reduces or eliminates predation costs of sexual signaling.

Evolution of sexual dichromatism in relation to nesting habits in European passerines: a test of Wallace’s hypothesis

A role of nesting habits in the evolution of plumage conspicuousness of males, and a role for sexual selection also in females, are strongly suggested, which partly support the evolutionary scenarios envisaged by both extraordinary scientists.

Fear screams and adaptation to avoid imminent death: effects of genetic variation and predation

In a comparative analysis of 71 species of birds, the proportion of individuals emitting fear screams in different species increased with the degree of genetic similarity among adults in local populations, and the frequency of fear screams is related to the risk of predation and the probability of successful escape.



Differential predation cost of a secondary sexual character: sparrowhawk predation on barn swallows

There was a negative relationship between degree of sexual ornamentation and predation risk, consistent with the hypothesis that the secondary sexual character is a reliable indicator of quality.

Comparative evidence supports the Hamilton and Zuk hypothesis on parasites and sexual selection

Positive relationships between male brightness and parasite prevalence which remain when the effects of taxonomic, behavioural and ecological variables are removed are demonstrated.

Altitudinal variation in sexual dimorphism: a new pattern and alternative hypotheses

As predicted, interspecific variation in sexual dimorphism was more strongly associated with changes in elevation than with habitat, nest dispersion and placement, and migratory status, and species occupying lower elevations were more sexually dimorphic in plumage than species at higher elevations.

Prey Selection by Sparrowhawks, Accipiter nisus: Relative Predation Risk for Breeding Passerine Birds in Relation to their Size, Ecology and Behaviour

Most predation was due to the smaller male hawks, providing food for their mates and young, RPR increased with prey body size up to a mass of about 40 g, then declined with increasing body size (larger prey being more difficult to catch), RPR decreased with increasing relative density of prey species.

Immune Defense and Host Sociality: A Comparative Study of Swallows and Martins

It is shown that the impact of parasites on host reproductive success was positively associated with the degree of sociality in the bird family Hirundinidae, however, the cost of parasitism in highly colonial species was countered by high levels of T‐ and B‐cell immune responses.

Anti-predator effect of conspicuous plumage in a male bird


Brightness of male plumage and sexual dimorphism in brightness were positively associated with high levels of extrapair paternity, even when potentially confounding variables were controlled statistically.

Conspicuous Coloration in Male Birds is Favoured by Predation in Some Species and Disfavoured in Others

Risk of predation is likely to influence the evolution of male coloration, and it may, however, select against conspicuous plumage in some species, but favour it in others.

Predation favours cryptic coloration in breeding male pied flycatchers

Frequency-dependent selection by predators.

  • J. A. Allen
  • Mathematics
    Philosophical transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological sciences
  • 1988
Sometimes predators tend to concentrate on common varieties of prey and overlook rare ones. Within prey species, this could result in the fitness of each variety being inversely related to its