Examples of aposematism in animals and plant

Aposematism is the demonstration of striking characters in living beings who warn their predators of potential danger if they are eaten. A feature of aposematism is that organisms that use it are usually poisonous or of bad taste, it is a strategy that saves energy, is exhibited before the threat arises and offers advantages to the predator.

As examples of aposematism we have the rings of the octopus Hapalochlaena lunulata, the sound of bell in crótalos, itching in the chili or aromas of plants in animals.

Agencies have surprising strategies in which they can take different ways to defend themselves against their environment. We have been taught not to touch strikingly colored animals, because they are usually dangerous, and we also have a born instinct that makes us respond to dangers expressed by animal sounds or by structures that warn of what another living being is capable of.

This is known to aposematism, and has particular functions in both animals and plants. Continue reading this article to learn more about what aposematism is, its characteristics and examples.

What is aposematism

Aaposematism is a defense strategy in which certain organisms develop striking physical characteristics with which they alert their predators to the danger if they are disturbed or if they are ingested.

It can be in different ways:

  • Visual: this is the most frequent aposematism of all. It is usually displayed in bright colors such as red, yellow, white and white. It can also be seen in patterns of these colors, often with black to increase contrast.
  • Chemical: can be perceived as an unpleasant aroma or taste.
  • Sound: certain animals can emit snapshots, besy or other sounds, warning of their danger. Some may be ultrasonic.

Characteristics of aposematism

  • It is usually given by organisms that are poisons or with bad taste, although there are a few that can have aposhemothian colors without being dangerous, in order to deceive. The latter is known as Batesian mimicry.
  • It is considered a secondary defence system because it alerts about toxicity or non-palatability.
  • It is a low energy demand strategy.
  • It serves as a survival strategy.
  • The apostomatic characters generate contrast, and that is why they are distinguished by the potential threat.
  • They can be distinguished from a distance.
  • They happen before the threat of attack.
  • The predator to which the strategy is addressed must have the ability to learn. Only in this way can it identify dangerous organisms to avoid eating them in the future.
  • Not only does it serve the prey, but the predator also benefits because it will avoid the bad consequences of eating it.

Examples of aposematism in animals

Animals are the group where aposematism can be observed most. Here are some examples:
Pulpo of blue rings (Hapalochlaena lunulata)

This 10-inch larger octopus has large vibrant blue rings that warn its poison predators it contains. In addition, they can change the color of your skin from white to yellow or brown, creating new patterns on which the blue rings are distinguished. This color change depends on the environment.

Each ring has the ability to throw iridescence of 30 seconds, regulated by muscle contractions at the center of each ring. Despite the small size they have, their saliva contains tetrotoxin, lethal to man in tiny doses.

The bell snakes have on the tip of the tail a bell made of rings that sound like the tail. When they feel threatened, they screw and vibrate the belt in warning sign they inoculate with their fangs. This is very potent and causes serious blood and neurotoxic symptoms.

Other animals with aposematism:

  • Bees
  • Washes
  • Monarch butterfly
  • Ladybs
  • Frogs dardo
  • Coral snake
  • Common Salamander
  • Marine babaves
  • Shrimp mantis
  • Lion fish
  • Mophets

Examples of plant aposematism

Plant aposematism was relegated and until 2001 it did not begin to study properly. It is aimed at preventing herbivores from eating them, developing striking colors, thorns or with secondary defense substances. Here are some examples.

Chilli Picor (Capiscum spp.)

The chilli spicy comes from a substance called capsaicin that irritates when consumed. Other symptoms that cause are sweating, vomiting, diarrhea, dermatitis, and even hypothermia.

It was developed by plants of this genus to avoid being meals by mammals, but man managed to take the liking and today is the basis of many gastronomy. Interestingly, the birds are not affected by capsaicin, so the dispersion of chilli seeds depends on them.

Essential oils and vegetable aromas in animals

Strong aromas from oils from certain plants can be appreciated by us, but many animals repel them. This was found in geese (Anser spp.), who were repelled by the aroma of mint, lavender and sage, but not from other scents such as musk or cod liver oil. This suggests they have an answer to walk away from aromas of potentially toxic plants, but not benign substances.

Difference between mimicry, crypsy and aposematism

These three concepts refer to changes in physical patterns, but each responds to different tactics.

  • Cripsis or camouflage: animals are confused with the environment by colors or patterns in their appearance. Not only do they have to resemble something, like a trunk for example, but also find it to locate itself on it and make the strategy effective. The difference with aposematism is that in the crypsy the organisms hide from the aggressor, and in aposematism they become more visible.
  • Mimetism: here the organisms seek to imitate others to go unnoticed. It differs from camouflage because the latter imitates the environment, but mimicry imitates other living beings. In turn, mimicry differs from aposematism for the same reason as the previous case: in mimicry the organism seeks to go unnoticed, but in aposematism they want to become more eye-catching before the aggressor.

As you know more about what aposematism is, and its differences with others such as mimicry or camouflage, we recommend reading this other article about The Colors of Butterflies.

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