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Journal of Tropical Ecology


Crypsis and aposematism are common antipredator strategies that can each be coupled with behaviours that maximize predator deterrence or avoidance. Cryptic animals employ camouflage to conceal themselves within their environment and generally rely on immobility to avoid detection by predators. Alternatively, aposematic animals tend to rely on an association between conspicuous colouration and secondary defence to deter potential predators, and tend to exhibit slow movements in response to predators. The goal of the present study was to determine how cryptic Craugastorsp. and aposematic Oophaga pumilio respond to simulated human and bird model predators. Oophaga pumilio responded more often with movement to both the human (17/22) and bird (9/25) predators than Craugastor sp. (human: 2/21; bird: 0/21). The increased movement resulted in a greater average flight initiation distance, latency to move, and distance fled in O. pumilio. These findings suggest that cryptic Craugastor sp. rely on immobility to avoid detection, whereas aposematic O. pumilio utilize movement, possibly as a mechanism to increase the visibility of their warning signals to potential predators. Furthermore, O. pumilio exhibited greater movement in response to humans, suggesting that they actively avoid trampling by large threats, rather than considering them predators.