Erratic Display as a Device against Predators

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Science  30 Jun 1967:
Vol. 156, Issue 3783, pp. 1767-1768
DOI: 10.1126/science.156.3783.1767


Prey animals in many different taxonomic groups behave erratically when attacked by predators. This reaction is not accidental, but acts as a specific antipredator device. Observational data and theoretical considerations indicate that such protean displays function to confuse and disorient the predator and to increase its reaction time. Thus the survival of the prey is assisted, and the selective advntage whereby such erratic patterns of the prey animals may have evolved is created.