24 November 2015

Lure-Using Animals Addendum

One item in last Friday’s blog post, Crocodile News, was a report on crocodiles and alligators using sticks and twigs to lure nest-building birds. That, of course, made you wonder: Do other animals use hunting lures? Today’s addendum features only one that uses objects as lures, but I think you’ll be interested in what the others do.

Green herons drop bait to attract fish. (Photo from bioweb.uwlax.edu/bio203/2010/ausloos_jane/facts.htm)
Alligator snapping turtles wiggle their tongue to lure prey.
(Photo from video www.youtube.com/watch?v=sU6LyFfbcZE)
Young cantil snakes dangle their tail to attract prey. The tail color darkens as they age, but adults do fine without the lure. (Photo from adlayasanimals.wordpress.com/2014/03/19/cantil-agkistrodon-bilineatus/)
For their hunting lure, deep-sea anglerfish grow a long moveable filament topped by a growth of flesh (“esca”), some with bioluminescent bacteria. (Photo on multiple websites; taken from www.realmonstrosities.com/2010/06/anglerfish.html)
Some Photuris genus female fireflies mimic flashing signals of female Photinus genus fireflies to attract male Photinus fireflies for dinner instead of romance. (Photo by Thomas Eisner from www.news.cornell.edu/stories/1997/09/cornell-biologists-report-mimicry-and-murder-night)
Margays have been observed mimicking distress calls of baby tamarin monkeys to prey on the adult monkeys. (Photo from multiple websites.) See research paper www.bioone.org/doi/full/10.1896/044.016.0107
The similarity of Calabar pythons’ head and tail offers a handy way to deceive prey, especially since the snake can move its tail as other snakes move their head. (Photo from video www.youtube.com/watch?v=xc5mwPQudsY)
Some cichlid fish, such as this Nimbochromis livingstonii nakatenga, feign death to prey on scavengers. (Photo from video www.youtube.com/watch?v=LJMu1dA2PTk)
Some species of the adult Epomis beetle go after frogs and other amphibians, but the larva of these beetles let the hunter come to it before making the hunter the prey. (Photo by Gil Wizen) See videos by Wizen youtu.be/Nm428RTPLhk and www.youtube.com/watch?v=0y1FPm5WNVc and research paper by Wizen and Avital Gasith journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0025161
The orchid mantis (or walking flower mantis) looks enough like an orchid that it is the lure to capture its prey. (Photo from multiple websites) See video www.youtube.com/watch?v=QdfGCscTMak

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