The Varying Patterns On The Back Of These Frogs Will Sell You A Dummy

It won’t be easy for you to spot a red-and-white stop sign if it were to be shaped differently, would it? Afterall, you have seen signs enough times to know that an octagon shaped sign in red/white combination would be the stop sign. Various animal species also make use of colours to signal different things. It doesn’t mean that all species would use the same pattern, though. Take the dyeing dart frog for that instance. The yellow/black pattern on its 5-centimeter long back may signal it’s poisonous but some of these frogs have a plain pattern while others have much complex ones.

This disparity between the patterns would obviously make it hard for the predator to register the warning. The colour pattern is not always visible on a static frog and it is also determined by the way the frog moves. That explains the differences in patterns viewed by the predators. Researchers suggest that in case of directional frogs (that follow one another), “this pattern–movement combination might create the illusion of a static pattern or a pattern with a greatly reduced speed that affects predators’ abilities to track the trajectory of moving individuals and predict their attack angle.”

Conversely, slow moving frogs that take a random route may have interrupted patterns. Researchers believe that “interrupted patterns may be visually disruptive or cryptic at a distance, and the combination of disruptive patterns and slower movements, or alternating movement and freezing, might be advantageous for the avoidance of motion-oriented predators.”

Seeing that the variety of colour patterns and movements benefit both kinds of frogs in their own way, it is safe to assume that neither of them would fall prey to the dark side of natural selection.

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