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59 votes

Do "shooting" animals exist?

A good exemple should be the “harpoon” in cone snails (Conidae), which is created from a modified tooth inside their proboscis. (Cone snail with proboscis, from KQED.org) The harpoon is launched at ...
fileunderwater's user avatar
35 votes
Accepted

Did predators evolve eyes first?

Short answer Complex eyes may have evolved first in predator species, specifically in box jellyfish. Trilobites are another group of animals where complex eyes may have evolved first. The trilobites ...
AliceD's user avatar
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33 votes

Why haven't prey evolved the ability to always outrun their predators?

There are (at least) three important factors to consider here; evolution under selection requires genetic variation upon which to act, selection can act on covarying traits causing trade-offs, and ...
rg255's user avatar
  • 16.1k
21 votes

Do "shooting" animals exist?

An excellent example (unless you consider this a tool) of a weapon using animal would be the "web casting spiders" which are a diverse group of spiders known as the Deinopidae. These spiders ...
bob1's user avatar
  • 12.5k
21 votes

Why aren't native predators in Australia able to handle the mice problem?

The mice aren't invading Australia, they are invading the wheat producing zones, where the tractors are leveling the land and putting on pesticides. The local frog, amphibian and snake populations ...
bandybabboon's user avatar
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20 votes

Did predators evolve eyes first?

AliceD's answer is great but just to address your points 1 and 2. Eyes are expensive. From a study on fish loosing their vision in caves. The cost of vision was calculated to be 15% of resting ...
Sam Dean's user avatar
  • 301
17 votes

Why haven't prey evolved the ability to always outrun their predators?

There are two reasons for this: evolutionary trade-offs and coevolution (the "Red Queen hypothesis", as mentioned in the comment above by Luigi). Evolutionary trade-off describes situations where one ...
arboviral's user avatar
  • 3,354
17 votes

Do "shooting" animals exist?

Although not a hard projectile the Archerfish shoots water https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Archerfish
Tristanisginger's user avatar
13 votes

Did predators evolve eyes first?

Eyes evolved multiple independent times in convergent evolution. Almost all the vertebrates have eyes. Those few that doesn't lost their eyes through evolution and live in deep ocean of in caves where ...
Victor Stafusa's user avatar
8 votes
Accepted

Are there any pairs of animal species that regularly prey on other?

Caiman and Anacondas - though each hunts the other at a stage of development when the hunter is larger.1 2 Occasionally this occurs with Orcas and Sharks.3 Some species of shark3 Spiders and mantids4 ...
brazofuerte's user avatar
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8 votes
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How do snakes determine the direction of prey from their thermal infrared sensing pit organs?

From Wikipedia: The facial pit actually visualizes thermal radiation using the same optical principles as a pinhole camera, wherein the location of a source of thermal radiation is determined by the ...
Bryan Krause's user avatar
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7 votes
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What is the difference between a predator and a parasite?

Good question. There is no fundamental difference between parasites and predators. Ecological Interaction In terms of ecological interaction, they are both defined as an interaction where one ...
Remi.b's user avatar
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7 votes

What are these animals, and what happened here?

That's likely a raccoon and a dead fish (salmon, perhaps). For the animal on the left: notice the ringed tail, foot anatomy, and lighter foot color, and variable (light/dark) fur color: University ...
theforestecologist's user avatar
7 votes
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Refuge impact on growth rate

The answer to this depends a lot on what kind of question you're asking. Adding more context/clarifying your question might help you get more useful answers. If you run a short-term experiment ...
Ben Bolker's user avatar
  • 5,364
6 votes

What is the difference between a predator and a parasite?

Parasitism – a parasite that lives on or in an host, obtaining food from the host and harming it. Example: Ixodes ticks use white tailed deer as a host Parasite is smaller and weaker than the host ...
Ebbinghaus's user avatar
  • 2,603
6 votes
Accepted

What are the predators of Glaucus atlanticus?

Try out using Google Scholar to take a more scientific literature-based approach to your search. Frick et al. (2009)1 found that about 42% of logerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta) stomachs contained ...
theforestecologist's user avatar
5 votes
Accepted

Predators on the Galapagos

Larger predators need a large range on which to find potential prey. An island might be bigger than the normal range of a predator, but too small to support a large enough breeding population (because ...
Bryan Krause's user avatar
  • 46.1k
5 votes

How does natural selection explain how organisms that are poisonous evolved?

There is a lot to say on this question. I will try to keep it short, to the risk of oversimplifying the problem. I can think of three main reasons: 1. Predation does not necessarily means death of ...
Remi.b's user avatar
  • 68.2k
5 votes
Accepted

What predates on cactus in the Atacama desert?

Short answer This type of herbivory is probably from feral livestock, especially donkeys. Long Answer There is video footage of guanacos eating flowers off of cacti in the Atacama. For example, an ...
theforestecologist's user avatar
5 votes

What's the definition of 'natural prey' and 'natural predator'?

Natural world be used in situations like these for 1 of 2 possible reasons (and potentially both simultaneously): to indicate ecologies that exist due to the organisms evolving together in that area (...
theforestecologist's user avatar
5 votes
Accepted

How selective are wolves about the size of their prey?

You should not post here until you've demonstrated your own research effort. Given this stipulation -- and the rich literature about this very topic -- I will keep my answer cursory so as to act as ...
theforestecologist's user avatar
4 votes
Accepted

What percentage of fish are herbivorous vs. carnivorous?

I don't have an answer to this but there are a number of elements I think can be helpful for you in finding an answer. First, a helpful word for searching here if you didn't know or hadn't thought of ...
Oosaka's user avatar
  • 3,253
4 votes

How can bobcats feel the mice under the snow?

You can smell roughly where your pan is cooking, but you can hear it with more precision, in order to pin point something you would tend to use your ears, especially if it is under snow. Cats use all ...
bandybabboon's user avatar
  • 10.4k
4 votes

Are there any pairs of animal species that regularly prey on other?

A python will eat an alligator: Source: http://www.miamibeach411.com/news/python-snakes and an alligator will eat a python: Source: https://www.palmbeachpost.com/news/gator-chows-down-python-...
wanderweeer's user avatar
  • 2,743
4 votes

Overly stabilised population dynamics model

In a deterministic system, there are 2 options: equilibrium or collapse. It sounds like you've found an equilibrium. This is probably expected! Classic Lotka-Volterra makes specific deterministic ...
Maximilian Press's user avatar
3 votes
Accepted

References concerning the relative population sizes of predator and prey

You are indeed correct that the prey of predators are usually more common than their predators, especially if you focus on "true" predation (i.e. remove parasitism and parasitoidism). As a rule of ...
fileunderwater's user avatar
3 votes
Accepted

Predator prey interaction

I disagree with GForce's explanation; the meaning is not that growth of prey populations causes instability in predator species. The sentence is merely saying that without predation, prey population ...
rg255's user avatar
  • 16.1k
3 votes

Do "shooting" animals exist?

It is a common notion that porcupines can shoots spines but in reality, they can't. But there are some animals that can shoot/throw projectiles at the target as a result of either offensive or ...
Nilay Ghosh's user avatar
  • 1,283
3 votes

Do "shooting" animals exist?

Spitting spiders will shoot their strands of web (extremely quickly) toward prey: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DFozCr_tj8I
JimN's user avatar
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