Animals are naturally trying to avoid becoming prey. Some depend on perfect camouflage, some prefer a hidden lifestyle, and some are equipped to defend themselves actively. However, even a wasp with a pointed stinger would rather fly away instead of fighting for its life. Could it somehow warn a potential predator ahead then? Aposematic signals have evolved for this exact reason. Aposematism is a easily-noticeable warning signal informing the recipient that the signaling animal is distasteful, venomous or otherwise dangerous. The striking yellow and black colors of wasps, newts or yellow-bellied toads are just that. Nevertheless, aposematic signals don’t end with coloration. Sometimes a smell is the best way to demonstrate how dangerous or distasteful one is. Whether a smell is truly a strong enough sign was investigated by a team of zoologists of the Faculty of Science, Charles University, led by Jan Raška.
Published Feb 18, 2019