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Predator Mimicry in Galliform Birds
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 11, 2008 9:51 am    Post subject: Predator Mimicry in Galliform Birds Reply with quote








Pythons and Tree Snakes wait and ambush their prey from a concealed location. Sometimes the drop on their prey from above. Pythons will often appear suddenly from under deep leaf litter, in much the same way a crocodile ambushes prey from beneath the water. Inadvertently stumbling upon a large snake in the deep forest or elephant grass is not a pleasant experience, even for large dangerous animals like leopards and banteng.

Large snakes don't like to be trampled on but their camouflage works so well that they must sometimes have to warn large clumsy hoofstock like banteng and sambar to take care! They also tend to become very agitated when approached by predators like dhole and leopards which may well prey on even very large pythons when they are vulnerable- during the days that it takes for them to digest a large meal. For this reason, pythons will strike out and pursue predatory species that venture too close.
I remember once a colleague telling me about the time he was watching a clouded leopard from an inflated raft/tent in the canopy of the rainforest. He had been there for days. One day he was fascinated to see a clouded leopard sunning itself on a great wide branch about as big around as an automobile. At any rare he was getting his cameras all set up when suddenly he saw a large python suddenly materialize - he had overlooked it - so had the clouded leopard. The snake pursued the poor cat and striking out at it the leopard was forced to make a dangerous leap into the branches of an adjacent tree. It nearly fell through the canopy.

Tree Snakes on the other hand are very slender, long creatures with the nastiest temperaments. They too ambush their prey- most often birds and lizards or other snakes high in the trees. Unlike most snakes, tree snakes use their eyes much like birds do and will race towards a fruiting a tree or as is often the case, towards a perching spot near human settlements for domestic fowl. The noisy climb up into the branches or onto manmade structures by juvenile domestic fowl is too much for a tree snake to ignore.
They will also climb right down the base of a palm tree to hunt ground birds, especially young chicks.

Both snakes let potential predators and unwitting intruders of their presence by special behaviors termed as diematic - basically they let everything near by know they are very angry and intend to inflict injury on anything that molests them or ventures too close. They do this by coiling themselves into a writhing mass of undulating patterns- vibrating their scales audibly for all to hear and feel. They will also hiss and strike out if need be. For their own protection, they tend to keep their coils in confusing loops which they keep moving in just such a manner as to make the direction of their movement and the actual size and shape of the creature a terrifying mystery.
For animals that live close to the ground- or rather that are small enough to be readily injured or eaten by a large serpent, the diematic signals of an angry serpent are generally enough to send even large powerful animals packing.

I believe that some of the larger subtropical gallinates like Peafowls and Argus imitate the defensive and offensive behaviors of large reptiles, be they pythons, tree snakes, vipers or monitor lizards.
There is no one single model that they are imitating but rather, they imitate all of them simultaneously and depending on the intruder of their nesting territory, and this is crucial to the theory- the males of the species are standing sentinel over nesting territories, when an intruder materializes it is more often than not a potential nest predator.
Nest predators are not generally capable of subjugating an adult gallinate- especially the males. These territorial birds are using both ambush and direct approach techniques to baffle their nest predators and drive them away. A great deal of this has to do with auditory mimicry. The male birds vibrate their wing and tail quills in such a manner that it feels and sounds like that of a large dangerous reptile. I mention feels because most reptiles don't utilize the same sense of hearing that birds and mammals do. They feel vibrations in their sensitive jaw bones and along their whole bodies. The male birds vibrate along the length of their specialized trains while they are tightly folded. The bird brushes against ringal growth and leaf litter in such a manner as to accentuate its auditory signal. The vegetation and leaf litter serves to accentuate the broadcast.
The large territorial fowl is advertising that it is at least five feet long, quite thick. While concealing itself from sight- the large fowl's vibratory signals are misinforming the nest predator that it is being tracked by a predatory reptile. The peafowl or argus male is fooling the nest predator into believing that it is prey.

A different situation arises amongst the Polyplectron or Peacock-Pheasants. These are comparatively diminutive birds, the largest of which weighing nor more than a large pigeon, the smallest being a bit larger than quail. Unlike the more formidable peafowl, the Polyplectron would make a tasty morsel of food for a large number of predatory species, both obligate and non obligatory. In other words, a young monitor lizard could dispatch an adult, especially a setting a female or a female with chicks. They are more likely to prey on eggs and chicks. The male polyplectron is always present and there is often a band of males guarding over a single female and her offspring of various generations. The birds are also partially arboreal, especially as juveniles and subadults. In the more social species like the Grey, a close social cohesion is evidenced by the constant guineafowl-like vocalizations of family unit.
Sentinels broadcast the presence of a potential predator and if the predator is a young varanid or scavenging rodent, the adults quickly morph into dangerous looking reptiles themselves and drive the would be predator away.
I realize that this is very difficult to imagine. Please bear with me.
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 11, 2008 1:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 11, 2008 1:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote



Towards Evolvable Exterior: Color Pattern Evolution Based on the Predator-Prey Interactions

extended abstract

Akinori Ojika*, Takaya Arita** and Shigeki Yokoi**
*Graduate School of Human Informatics , Nagoya University
**School of Informatics and Sciences, Nagoya University
--
We have been focusing on the predator-prey interactions as an origin of dynamics producing transition of color patterns[1]. Predator-prey interactions can be considered one of the driving forces in evolution. Successful predation events characteristically follow a sequence of six stages:

1.encounter,
2. detection,
3. identification,
4. approach,
5. subjugation and
6. consumption
.

Prey species wish to interrupt this sequence as soon as possible by means of defences, whereas predators wish to reach the conclusion quickly by means of counter-defences. Predation and predator defence go back at least to the early Cambrian, so we can assume that prey have evolved many methods to terminate predation as early as possible.
Among many means of defence and counter-defence, color patterns on their epidermis play an important role in the detection and identification stages.
For example, some species match the color and pattern of the background to avoid detection by predators (crypsis), and some species bear special resemblance to inedible objects (masquerade) or distasteful species (mimicry). Therefore, the epidermis patterns of animals and plants are functional and dynamic in this context. At the same time, it is true that they constitute beautiful and harmonious images.
[size=9


Motivated by above-mentioned consideration, we have started investigating the feasibility of the evolution of color patterns on the surface of artifact-systems using the dynamics of predator-prey interactions observed in nature. This paper describes the concept of "Evolvable Exterior", and then reports our efforts to abstract the evolutionary mechanism of color pattern generation and color pattern recognition, and to construct a model in which coevolutionary dynamics automatically generate some of the color patterns that one observed in nature one after another. In the model, the world has several species among which there are predator-prey relationships (Fig. 1). Each organism has a pattern development system and a pattern recognition system. The pattern development system, which can be considered a two-dimensional extension of the 0L-system by Lindenmayer, has five generative grammars, which are passed on to offspring by genetic operations. One of the five grammars develops the color pattern on its epidermis. The other four grammars develop color patterns for recognizing its predators, its prey, its kin and the background, respectively, which are compared with the color patterns on the epidermis of the organisms it has encountered. Various transitions of color patterns have been observed in the experiments (Fig. 2). The epidermis patterns of organisms as prey have a tendency to become misleading patterns, for example, which are similar to the patterns for predators in the recognition systems of the predators. At the same time, the epidermis patterns of the organisms as predators also have a tendency to become misleading patterns, for example, which are similar to the patterns for prey in the recognition systems of the prey. Color patterns developed by the grammars for recognition, in general, follow the transitions of color patterns of prey, predators and kin, because the more similar the patterns are, the higher the organism's score. Coevolution requires a specific evolutionary response by both species: specific new defences by the prey must be continually counteracted by specific new defence-breakers in the predators and vice versa.

One of the ultimate goal of this approach is to realize dynamic transition of color patterns on the surface (display devices) of the artifact-systems based on the interactions among surrounding entities, while it is our present purpose to put this model into concrete shape as a design tool based on the results of the experiments.
[/size]


Don't worry. All this reading is directly related to the topic at hand and what is more, the subject matter may well explain why some birds "display" but fail to reproduce in captivity.
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 11, 2008 1:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mimicry is one of several anti-predatory devices found in nature. Specifically it is a situation in which one species called the mimic resembles in color, form, and/or behavior another species called the model. In so doing, the mimic acquires some survival advantage.

There are 2 basic forms of mimicry:

1. Batesian - the mimic (palatable) resembles the model (unpalatable) and only the mimic benefits.

2. Mullerian - both the mimic and the model are unpalatable and both benefit.


Batesian mimicry is most effective when the mimic is rare and its emergence follows that of the model. In Mullerian mimicry as density increases so does the adaptive value. Since mimicry provides potential survival value, the mimic with an adaptation that increases the likelihood of surviving is selected. Natural selection of these favorable variations has led to the coevolution of many species. The distinction among camouflage (cryptic coloration), warning coloration, and mimicry is not always clear. Mimicry, as opposed to camouflage and warning coloration, is specifically the resemblance between two organisms. The same techniques of deception are sometimes utilized in all three anti-predatory devices. These include variations in color, pattern, and structure.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mimicry#_note-1

Predator Mimicry is exceedingly rare


Nevertheless, there are some fascinating examples of this phenomenon in nature.

Biological mimicry is widespread in nature. Many poisonous or otherwise unpalatable organisms display warning signs, such as black and yellow or black and red stripes, to deter would-be predators. Batesian mimicry to refers to non-poisonous organisms which closely resemble poisonous ones. (This phenomenon is named after Walter Henry Bates, who first proposed it in 1862.) Some organisms, such as the stick insect, are camouflaged, while others behave in deceptive ways when approached by a predator.

Some organisms are known to lure prey by mimicking them, but the converse situation, in which prey mimics its predator, is very rare. In the first edition of the new online open access journal PLoS One, Rota and Wagner show that metalmark moths have wing markings which resemble the markings on jumping spiders. The moth also behaves in such a way as to enhance its resemblance of the spider. When perched on leaves, they adopt a particular posture, with their hindwings fanned out and brought forward, and positioned perpendicular to the forewings. In this position, the white markings closely resemble those found on the jumping spider:

Rota and Wagner carried out trials in which jumping spiders were presented with metalmark moths and other types of moths which do not display wing markings. The metalmarks had far higher survival rates than the other moths: 5 out of 69 were caught by the spiders, compared to 43 out of 69 of the other moths.

The resemblance between the moth and the spider is quite astonishing. Although the jumping spider’s sense of vision is among the most acute of all the arthropods, it is not good enough to distinguish between the metalmark and another spider - the spiders were often observed performing territorial displays when they encountered the metalmarks, providing further evidence that they mistook the moths for other jumping spiders:

The wing markings of the metalmark may also confer another advantage. Because the spiders move extremely quickly, they often evade capture by birds swooping down on them from above. Rota and Wagner suggest that the markings may also fool birds into thinking that metalmarks are jumping spiders; if this is the case, birds might be less likely to attempt to capture the moths. A review by the authors of the wing markings of other insects suggests that mimicry of jumping spiders may be more widespread than was previously thought.




http://www.plosone.org/article/fetchArticle.action?articleURI=info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0000045#s4

http://neurophilosophy.wordpress.com/2006/12/22/the-moth-in-spiders-clothing/

http://www.springerlink.com/content/j7188v173j024718/








I believe that many primeval forest-adapted Gallinaceous birds, are adept predator mimics. While the spider mimic moth is actually modeling its own predator, these adult galliforms appear to focus most of their attentions towards potential nest predators and many taxa appear to limit their mimicry to specific postures, especially the stationary alert /sentinel postures and related behaviors. When approached by their obligate predators, leopards or large civets these species will take flight or run away.

A small non-obligatory predator, like a giant forest squirrel , scavenging species or outsized predator like a juvenile varanid, a young civet, tree snake or terrapin will generally be met with what I will describe as mimetic behaviors. Obviously there are vast differences in size and temperament between different taxa and overgeneralizing is not helpful.
In the case of the Polyplectron, it behaves very much like the spider mimic moth. The two argus take this to further degrees of developmental refinement. The female Great Argus doesn't appear to exhibit mimetic behavior but her mate is possibly the greatest python mimic in the world.
The female Crested Argus on the other hand, appears to be mimetic of venomous vipers while the male Crested Argus is adept an adept mimic of a non venomous constricting serpent while the hen is incubating but when dealing with many chick predators it appears to imitate a varanid.

None of these gallinates is following any specific model very closely. Their overall defensive behaviors appear to take cues from many reptilian species.



Cognitive dimensions of predator responses to imperfect mimicry?


Lars Chittka1 & Daniel Osorio2

Subjects:
Evolution and Ecology, Neuroscience
Tags:

* predator decision making
* speed accuracy tradeoffs
* mimicry
* insects

Abstract:

Many palatable insects, for example hoverflies, deter predators by mimicking well-defended insects such as wasps. However, for human observers, these flies often seem to be little better than caricatures of wasps – their visual appearance and behaviour are easily distinguishable. This imperfect mimicry baffles evolutionary biologists, because one might expect natural selection to do a more thorough job. Here we discuss two types of cognitive processes that might explain why mimics distinguishable mimics might enjoy increased protection from predation. Speed accuracy tradeoffs in predator decision making might give imperfect mimics sufficient time to escape, and predators under time constraint might avoid time-consuming discriminations between well-defended models and inaccurate edible mimics, and instead adopt a “safety first” policy of avoiding insects with similar appearance. Categorization of prey types by predators could mean that wholly dissimilar mimics may be protected, provided they share some common property with noxious prey.



Polyplectrons are simply amazing. It is ironic that so many collectors have kept them in their collections and yet missed the more dynamic aspects of their behavioral repertoire.

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 11, 2008 2:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote










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PostPosted: Tue Mar 11, 2008 3:40 pm    Post subject: two days no sleep please forgive Reply with quote



Daring to tread where only angels and fools are welcome, I introduce to you today to a brand new theory that will make Darwin turn in his molten hot grave and give Wallace a reason to shout down from the heavens.
It may also lead to self-important gasps of exasperation and old superior may well pop another fissure of indignant antagonism over it.




Now before anyone starts jumping around clapping hands at my obvious stupidity, I know full well that the Polyplectron don't look like snakes, especially to us humans. This isn't about how we see birds or they see us. this is about how reptiles and terrestrial birds communicate together.

Let us put this in context shall we?

When one is in the dark understorey and one is a varanid lizard ramblng tthrough looking for a new chick or pipping egg to eat, the nesting pair of Polyplectron are going to go out of their way to stop you dirty nest predators and dissuade you from returning in the future.


The defensive behaviors, of the Polyplectron, elicited by the reptile are analogous with those of a diematic serpent but this is again, like the spider mimic moth- its about markings and how those markings are accentuated through piloerection and degrees of angle- the movements of each respective row of ocellated plume is the second aspect of the behavior- the spots as seen by themselves glowing as it were in the dim light - they appear to undulate in a serpentine manner.
the third and most important component of this mode of behavior is the auditory mimicry where by the Polyplectron/Argus/Rheinartia/Pavo vibrate their quills in such a manner that it can be [b]felt
by the intruding reptile.





Latero-frontal view of one adult captive-bred males P. schleiermacheri (source ; Daniela Friebe, Indonesia, February 2008)

Remember these wonderful photos presented to us by our friends Francy ( the experienced) and DJ Kara Sun (the hotty)?

http://good-times.webshots.com/video/3058561830102971993emUwCX?vhost=good-times


And how about these posted by Monte (the capable)?

[img]



http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-1357270035199929893&q=peacock+pheasant&total=23&start=0&num=10&so=0&type=search&plindex=0
Note that the Palawan and Bornean both have this unusual trait of greatly elongated and specialized lateral neck/plumes that appear to part at the center. The Malay also carries this trait. It makes the bird's look like they have a snake's torso for a neck. See the demarcation down the middle? In the Bornean Hybrid its a bit more obvious. In the mainland Malay its not subtle either but it doesn't jump out at you until its pointed out generally. In Monte's last photo of the Palawan male with its bill concealed- crest straight forward ( and flickering) you can see how it utilizes the same tract of plumage to alter its outline.

What I like best about Daniela's footage is the sound. Listen carefully to the auditory signal of the bird as it shape shifts across the ground.
It hisses audibly but more intriguingly, it also produces a crisp buzzing vibration with its remiges and retrices. If leaf litter or ringal growth was present in the enclosure these signals would be broadcast more clearly.

Imagine for a moment that you are kitten sized varanid clambouring about famished as four weasels and not even three tenths as bright as a single mustelide.
You are a ravenous little carrion eater with a tongue that searches the air for the faintest hint of fresh poop, maggots and peeping eggs.
This is the jungle after all.
So you are clambouring about high on your dim self when suddenly that little bulb in your skull begins to glow. A signal is coming through. Not sure where...Must FIND! Picking up speed less some thing eats you, you scurry blindly towards the faintest of scents.

And there before you a little covey of Roul Roul and Hill Partridges in mixed company -a coucal or two. You don''t know a damned thing because you are about as blind as Mr. Magoo- without his custom made monocle. You can smell their sweet succulent flesh like Rosie Odonell at free barbecue. You know from instincts passed dowwn from one putrid old lizard to the next forever that you'll need ambush these succulents
But as you adopt your slither mode of locomotion when your deepest instincts take over that bombastic fritz of an intellect, the dull colourless figures in the near distant stand at attention. You can't really hear it because your a putrid breathed lizard with bad skin, but you can sort of feel it that some little shiny bird on a branch well out of your reach- we'll call it Nature's DJ bird is singing up a storm about the opportunist in the foreground. The little wood partridge stand at attention ready to vanish without a sound. Your smelly tongue is lashing the air furiously as each your eye balls strains to focus on anything and on either side of your head, simultaneously. The light filtering down from the canopy is ever shifting and with it patches of heated leaf litter and cool shadow cast form long tree trunks. You feel something stir and it makes your prickly skin get even clammier. You rise up on your haunches to get a better taste of the surroundings. The vibration buzzes again and this time closer. The little shiny hand drum of an ear is pulsing at the first audible hiss of something with a nasty temper. Then your jawbone buzzes sending all your lizard senses on edge when the first flash vibration sounds out.
You wheel about as if you just hatched. And from seemingly out of nowhere a pile of angry something is rattling in your direction.
Its signal is far from ambiguous. Buzz! Whisp!
( the little roul rouls in the back ground are saying-" J'ai la peche!" "oh no he din't!" and "oh yes he did!" then the Hill partridges and roul roul get all excited with their ghetto zation: " And he was all like "pffft" and she was all like "oh no he dit'nt" and he was all "shhhhhheee...." )

Meanwhile, darth vader the delusional polyplectron materializes before the the varanid...his cape says "J'ai les glandes"
He says " J'ai les nerfs lizard! Je suis venere! J'ai la haine!"

This is about where the kid that picks his nose all the time goes - "and then lizard jumps out and eats him? "

No my little nose cannibal, that is not what happens next in the sequence of the spurfowl and varanid.

The lizard falters just long enough a bit baffled with what it is witnessing.
The spurfowl assaults the lizard, spurring him with multiple kicking thorns-
the fright alone is enough to dissuade anything foolish.
Even monitor lizards are smart enough to avoid getting eaten or injured by
something with a nasty disposition.


This my friends is quite naturally a just so story.

But I hope it can help you envision a day in the life and in the scale of the little creatures that frequent the forest floor and steep ravine walls in these places. Reptiles don't "see" "hear" or "smell" in the exact way that we do.
The Polyplectron has just approached the would be nest predator.
The lizard is sent packing -terrified and uncertain of what he is escaping but he will never forget the chronology of signals that were broadcast before the assault on his lizardness. Some of you foolhearty macho types are looking at this with a whose stronger than who. The peacock pheasant is trying to win a fight. Its desperately attempting to keep the monitor lizard from trespassing on its nesting/foraging territory and for good reason. Its assault on the opportunistic lizard is analogous with slapping the stupid out of a crack head zombie.
The point isn't to win its to put enough sense into the nest predator that it changes gears and puts its own self preservation over hunger pains- over the tantalizing scents of brand new pipping eggs- or fresh chick

" Je suis casse'" huffs the filthy lizard and runs as fast as his dirty claws can carry him.
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 11, 2008 4:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote



















Ok- so where were we?

To reiterate, these birds are not attempting to imitate dangerous animals to protect themselves so much as their nest sites, and foraging territories.

This mimetic behavior is not limited to these genera as it is also readily observable in Lobiophasis and Chrysolophus. Catreus on the other hand is mimetic of a bird of prey. Tragopans have their own strange defensive behaviors that deserve a thread all to themselves but I think you may notice that in Monte's thread with depictions of his Temmink's Tragopan male being territorial, you may note that the lappet is distended as part of the last stage of the threat before actual assault.

If any of you with tragopans care to test if the lappet is used in defensive bouts- borrow a road kill hawk or taxidermy crow and half hid it within fir boughs or dense vegetation off the ground.
Quite a show the tragopan can put on to dissuade an egg thief.

Please ask questions if this is too convoluted.
Half of what I wrote yesterday had to do with the shock I was in from what Tjoen was prattling on about. I'm slowly getting back to editing it and this is the last week before heavy production meetings begin and I'll be gone for a long while again. I know alot of you are waiting for that moment that I'll shut the hell up and go back to work so you can get a word in edgewise...
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 12, 2008 4:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

What does this have to do with anything?

The last several generations of aviculturists kept these landfowl as ornamental gamebirds. They were first and foremost status symbols for the people that maintained them. Reproduction was of vital importance but the men and women of these generations were not entirely convinced of the significance of behavioral and ecological adaptations. To this day, most zoos place their rare species in exhibits where even the deep forest species are easily seen, in spite of the fact that they would much rather not be easily seen.

For this generation and for the stewards that follow us, we will make a greater effort to create naturalistic exhibits where the visitor is obliged to look in through special viewing windows in order to create more physical space ( the walls are wasted without wall lofts) and privacy even for those species that seem fine with being in wide open enclosures. We all know that most land fowl with the exception of peafowl and junglefowl, guineafowl and turkeys will do a piss poor job rearing their chicks in a bare penitentiary style enclosure. Those that do reproduce in these habitats are going to be more suitable for domestication and are thus on their way towards being domesticated.

People have often complained about Peacock Pheasant and Argus reproduction because of their small clutch sizes and so on.

I find that giving their enclosures the terrarium treatment- as in creating a habitat like one would for reptiles or amphibians that live their captive lives in a glass aquarium- makes it possible to get them to reproduce many more eggs and chicks and for a much longer period of time. If they are fed right and kept in the appropriate physical and social environments, they will actually reproduce all year. They are veritable egg machines.

I do this utilizing aggregating deep forest species like Madagascar partridge, roul roul and or button quail. For every single Polyplectron or Argus male there should be two pairs of aggregating deep forest woodquail/woodpartridge. For every pair of polyplectron or argus one trio of cavies ( guineapigs) and a pair of fruit pigeons, lories or glossy starlings. For every pod of polyplectrons or argus ( three males one female) two large iguanas and two male cavies with three female cavies.

I cant stress how important it is to reclaim the walls of your aviaries with multiple sand bath lofts with potted plants- or artificial naturalistic vegetation-

Getting back to the curious saunter, with the presence of these other habitat denizens, you will begin to appreciate the subtle and not so subtle language that tropical species utilize to communicate between species.
Because reptiles, mammals and birds utilize different psychologies- with divergent senses to begin with, subtropical species have very rich behavioral repertoires . They simply cannot utilize them when kept in too simple habitats. When you have these different animals together and there are several different foraging tables set up that change every other day or so ( meaning you don't feed in the same places every time), the community or assemblage of species living within the captive habitat will have ample opportunity for meaningful dialogue. Interestingly most of this communication focuses believe it or not, on cooperation and conflict avoidance and conflict resolution.


Before i put this into into use in large expensive enclosures and exhibits in zoos, perfecting the methods and materials began utilizing large hand made terrariums within these microhabitats are plants, button quail, hermit crabs, small lizards and diamond finches.

The next size up will include hermit crabs, coturnix quail, diamond doves and larger lizards.

The next size up will include hermit crabs, coturnix quail, tiny bantams, cockatiels, ring neck doves and small iguanas.

The next size up includes bamboo partridge or grey partridge, tiny bantams, cockatiels, ring neck doves and larger iguanas.

The next size includes Chinquis, Madagascar Partridge,
Grass Parrots, salmonella tested terrapins, and large iguanas.

It would be very interesting to see how Ptilopachus would fare in these multi species terrariums as they are basically a living fossil ancestor of all Old World Gallinates.

Once the indoor terrariums have been perfected ( and these are fantastic brooders by the way) you can go to planing out an outdoor exhibit style habitat.
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 12, 2008 6:58 pm    Post subject: SNAKES Reply with quote

Carpet or Amithystine python,Indian python or Shri Lankan(didn't take time to count scales on either animal) and Emerald tree boa. Beautiful works of nature. Resolution would you please check your P.M. Thanks DB.
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 12, 2008 8:47 pm    Post subject: Paternal Investment in Polyplectron Reply with quote


What are your experiences with Peacock-Pheasants that rear their own chicks? Do you allow the males to remain in the enclosure? If so, please share some of your observations?

Hugo Barbosa wrote:



Hugo



*note the juvenile Annamese Polyplectron, P. germaini in foreground-(between parents)- at this age stage it closely resembles the Mountain Peacock Pheasant. We can envision populations of a proto-germaini radiating into the highest altitudes adapting for increasingly montane habitat in the elfin forests. As reptiles, particularly lizards decrease in diversity and population well below this ecotope, we can assume that the ancestors of the Mountain Poly found success in nesting in these high altitudes. As a consequence they lost much of their 'ornamentation' a process that P. germaini had already begun in the food zone just below that of inopinatum. The ancestor of germaini was a population of highly ornamented proto malacense.


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Last edited by Resolution on Fri Mar 14, 2008 6:14 pm; edited 3 times in total
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Hugo Barbosa
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 13, 2008 3:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi

All year I let the females sit in their own eggs in the last clutch, when the weather is more worm. With all my peacock pheasants I do this and I let the male with the hen and chicks, I never had a agressive male to their chicks. What happens is that the last clutch is in the end of the breeding season and after the eggs hatch the male start to be less active and do not display, and help the hen with the rearing, all my peacock hens are great mothers. Another genera that I have good results with natural rearing are the Tragopans, The satyr and teminck are great mothers and the males does not made problems with the chicks, they don't help but either be agressive.
With Koklass and Monals I never had natural rearing the females don't sit on the eggs and I can't made that experience that I would like to do. but I keep trying.

Hugo
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mnord
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 13, 2008 11:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kermit,
First of all I let all of my male pheasants, with the exception of the goldens, stay in the enclosure with the hen and young. To increase production with the polyplectrons I pull the chicks at about 8 weeks and they go for it again. Most of the peacock pheasant males that I've watched will also tidbit the chicks and call them for food but did show some discomfort when the chicks would try to get under them for brooding. If I have people, through my broker/friend requesting other species that won't go back to nest using this method, I'll pull the first eggs to put under broodies and let the hen do a clutch in the end. Last year I let my older Temminck's hen just take it from the beginning. She layed a clutch of three which she successfully hatched and raised. Not much for production but some nice well balanced youngsters. Father showed no care except to protect and they both were monsters about it. None will compete with a fireback hen or male when they have chicks. Though it's a bluff, "so far", he sticks up for any chicks in distress, his or others. Otherwise he does nothing that I've noticed. My camera also takes motion pictures so I'm going to try to get courtships and behavior and interaction with young. I'll see how to post them at youtube so I can share them.

What species of plant is in the second photo from the bottom on the left with the three polyplectrons in it. It appears like a small tree with large rounded green leaves that have a bit of distance between internodes on the stalk. The is also another Palmetta looking plant in another photo that pictures a Rothchild's male and young Argus standing on the concrete wall next to the wire. Can you tell me what these are and whether or not I could cultivate them here?

Monte
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Resolution
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 14, 2008 6:58 pm    Post subject: ACOUSTIC MIMICRY Reply with quote

http://arjournals.annualreviews.org/doi/abs/10.1146/annurev.es.13.110182.001125?cookieSet=1&journalCode=ecolsys.1


http://www.devilducky.com/media/46386/
*note- the Lyrebird performing its acoustic mimicry and dance appears to be threatened by the presence of the British guy ( he may have thought it was that idiot the crocodile hunter) at any rate, no where in the narration does Attenborough acknowledge that the male might be attracting would be nest predators away from the nest site of his mate (s). Instead, we get the typical Darwin treatment- pretty bird sings an dances to attract mate-.
Aboriginal perspective would probably point out the fact that the bird is managing to keep the Britt's attention and so you are not grubbing about looking for eggs or chicks...Just a thought.

Also- the Lyrebird's DNA indicates that its closest relatives are not quite Passerines and not quite Gruiformes - I know -weird
but study the behavioral ecology of these relatives and decide for yourself the significance of parental investment and social bonding
http://montereybay.com/creagrus/mesites.html
http://animals.jrank.org/pages/592/Mesites-Roatelos-Mesitornithidae-BEHAVIOR-REPRODUCTION.html
http://montereybay.com/creagrus/rockfowl.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eupetidae

"Mimicry of visual warning signals is one of the keystone concepts in evolutionary biology and has received substantial research attention. By comparison, acoustic mimicry has never been rigorously tested. Visualizing bat–moth interactions with high-speed, infrared videography, researchers provide empirical evidence for acoustic mimicry in the ultrasonic warning sounds that tiger moths produce in response to echolocating bats. Two species of sound-producing tiger moths were offered successively to naïve, free-flying red and big brown bats. Noctuid and pyralid moth controls were also offered each night. All bats quickly learned to avoid the noxious tiger moths first offered to them, associating the warning sounds with bad taste. They then avoided the second sound-producing species regardless of whether it was chemically protected or not, verifying both Müllerian and Batesian mimicry in the acoustic modality. A subset of the red bats subsequently discovered the palatability of the Batesian mimic, demonstrating the powerful selective force these predators exert on mimetic resemblance. Given these results and the widespread presence of tiger moth species and other sound-producing insects that respond with ultrasonic clicks to bat attack, acoustic mimicry complexes are likely common components of the acoustic landscape."

http://www.bl.uk/birdmimicry.html
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Colomb
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 14, 2008 7:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Monte,
The pic of the small tree with rounded leaves looks to be some type of tropical fig. Probably not hardy below freezing. I can't find the pic with the argus on the wall, though I know I saw it the other day.

Scott
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Resolution
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 15, 2008 1:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

As I mentioned earlier, these Gallinates are not the only species that utilize mimicry or erratic deportment. Just about every species I can think of even Megapodes, is obliged any number of times in a given week to bridge the communication divide with a would be egg thief or hot to trot interloper.

Obviously, self-perpetuation via successful reproduction is critical to a species survival in the long run.

It is our responsibility as stewards of even the commonest species to learn as much as we can about their language, including communicative signals and vocalizations. So many people just getting into aviculture make the mistake of only thinking about some species they do not already keep. There are so many great things you can do with what you have.

If you have very limited space and a very limited budget, pretend for a moment that you are building a film set. We've all seen these masterful nature documentaries where they've gone to great lengths to reproduce the natural habitat they've already shot with the up close intimate footage.
Any one of you can recreate the world of the dinosaurs by carefully planning out a terrarium styled enclosure. Check out PeterC's photographs of his set up. Now shrink that to fit much smaller species. The objective is to create a living breathing habitat where you have control over temperature. You must insure that you can easily clean the enclosure and that it has adequate air circulation. Anyway, the objective of this experimental design is to create a model from which larger enclosures can be planned out in the future. The advantage of creating this ecohabitat is that if you create with the camera in mind- in other words you make it so the denizens can be easily photographed without disturbing them- and yet the 'set' looks like nature- is that you can create some google films or youtube reels.

The idea here is to recreate the murals of Charles R. Knight-without the violence naturally:
www.naturalhistorymag.com/.../1938_02_slide4.jpg

This exercise is all about perspective and scale.
Create a world where from the camera's perspective, a herd of hermit crabs appear to be as large as some prehistoric life forms the size of bison. Your button quail will be this world's elephant birds.
Tiny turtles become enormous tortoises and a baby iguana looks like a komodo dragon. The fish seem as big as mackerels and the plants -
well you can really get carried away with all the mosses and cork bark and so on. Just have fun. This ecohabitat will end up being alot more interesting than television, especially if you have the animals search their food like they would in nature rather than gather around a trough like domestic farm animals. A spray of millet here- some rooted sprouts over there- The communication between different animals will become something akin to a ballet- provided you don't include vicious things that want to hurt one another and you provide lots of room for everyone.

Here are some of my favorite species for model ecohabitat:

African Butterfly fish:
http://www.aquahobby.com/gallery/e_pantodon.php

Painted Button Quail:
http://www.gbwf.org/quail/buttonquail.html

Hermit Crabs:
http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Animal_Care/Land_hermit_crab

Flower Mantis:
http://www.centralpets.com/animals/insects/praying_mantis/pry5994.html

Baby Green Iguanas:
http://www.greenigsociety.org/


Now obviously, you will see that each of these species has its own range of ecological parameters that require the habitat to be complex.

Many zoo exhibits in the reptile house especially, will include multiple microhabitats within a single exhibit. Visit a nearby zoo and get some ideas or search the net:

http://sanantonio.about.com/od/recreationfitness/ig/San-Antonio-Zoo---Reptiles/Snake---San-Antonio-Zoo.--32.htm

Obviously, you can do this with larger creatures but perfecting our technique in creating the ultimate multi-dimensional exhibit/habitat is probably most feasible when done at the smallest scale and work up from there.

When you finally get your exhibit ready for filming try and take thorough notes and get current on animal behavior, especially as it relates to animal communication and signals:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Animal_communication

When you go to posting your photos of your observations- the human is outside the photo- everything is focused on animals and their environment. It will be a challenge to remove every tiny dish and telltale sing of human life from the 'set' but get your habitat just right and go from there.
I can guarantee you that you will learn volumes as you go and that it will not be a waste of time or energy.
This is how you prepare for the detail oriented management of exceedingly hard to rear species and also- the more delicate chicks.
The know it alls will learn from your technique and observations and you will have an impact on the way that they see the significance of different behaviors in their birds as well.
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