Canadian Forest Service Publications

Is there a role for stripes of adults and colour of larvae in determining the avoidance of the Colorado potato beetle by the American toad? 2010. Boiteau, G.; McCarthy, P.C. Canadian Journal of Zoology 88(5) 468–478. doi: 10.1139/Z10-017.

Year: 2013

Issued by: Atlantic Forestry Centre

Catalog ID: 34624

Language: English

Availability: PDF (request by e-mail)

Available from the Journal's Web site.
DOI: 10.1139/Z10-017

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It has been suggested that the stripes on the elytra of the adult Colorado potato beetle (Leptinotarsa decemlineata (Say, 1824); Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae) and the red colouration of the larvae are aposematic characters warning predators of their distastefulness as prey. The role of stripes and red colour in determining the avoidance behaviour of the American Toad (Bufo americanus Holbrook, 1836 = Anaxyrus americanus (Holbrook, 1836); Anura: Bufonidae) for the Colorado potato beetle was investigated in a series of laboratory tests. The behaviour of toads exposed to wild Colorado potato beetles was compared with that of toads exposed to genetic mutant Colorado potato beetles without elytral stripes. Tests confirmed the distastefulness of adult and larval stages and demonstrated the development of prey avoidance (cessation of feeding in spite of hunger) combined or not to behavioural displays where the toad plants down, crouches, and turns away or shows wincing, prey dropping, and mouth gaping after snapping at the beetle. However, toads showed the same response to mutant adult beetles without stripes and to mutant larval beetles without the red colour as to wild adult beetles with stripes and to wild red larvae. Results indicate that the stripes and the red colouration of the Colorado potato beetle do not constitute aposematic characters for the toad.