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A synthesis of deimatic behaviour

Lookup NU author(s): Grace Holmes, Dr Changku Kang, Professor Candy Rowe, Dr John Skelhorn


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© 2022 Cambridge Philosophical Society. Deimatic behaviours, also referred to as startle behaviours, are used against predators and rivals. Although many are spectacular, their proximate and ultimate causes remain unclear. In this review we aim to synthesise what is known about deimatic behaviour and identify knowledge gaps. We propose a working hypothesis for deimatic behaviour, and discuss the available evidence for the evolution, ontogeny, causation, and survival value of deimatic behaviour using Tinbergen's Four Questions as a framework. Our overarching aim is to direct future research by suggesting ways to address the most pressing questions in this field.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Drinkwater E, Allen WL, Endler JA, Hanlon RT, Holmes G, Homziak NT, Kang C, Leavell BC, Lehtonen J, Loeffler-Henry K, Ratcliffe JM, Rowe C, Ruxton GD, Sherratt TN, Skelhorn J, Skojec C, Smart HR, White TE, Yack JE, Young CM, Umbers KDL

Publication type: Review

Publication status: Published

Journal: Biological Reviews

Year: 2022

Volume: 97

Issue: 6

Pages: 2237-2267

Print publication date: 06/11/2022

Online publication date: 08/08/2022

Acceptance date: 19/07/2022

ISSN (print): 1464-7931

ISSN (electronic): 1469-185X

Publisher: John Wiley and Sons Inc


DOI: 10.1111/brv.12891