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Nahrungserwerb Und Beuteschema Der Erdkröte (Bufo Bufo L.)

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image of Behaviour

Hunting : The common toad adopts a feeding territory to which it restricts itself. Its activity is highly influenced by the weather. Adult toads are chiefly active at night, young individuals also during day-time. The hunting toad is guided primarily by vision. With increased feeding stimulation the discriminative ability for prey is reduced; when the stimulus-effect is simply proportional to the speed of movement of the object. Tactile impressions are of less importance in hunting while smell and hearing seem of no effect at all. Feeding : The "snap-reflex" shows the lowering of threshold which is a characteristic feature of instinctive behaviour patterns. Smaller prey is snapped up with the tongue ("Zungenschnappen"), while larger prey is seized by grasping with the jaws ("Greifschnappen"). After feeding with prey of constant size the animals become accustomed to such prey and prefer it to larger or smaller. The forelegs are used to assist in the swallowing of larger prey. Acceptance and refusal of prey is due to taste as well as to tactile stimuli. The innate releasing mechanism for prey is relatively unspecialised, movement being the most important component. Increase in the size of the prey tends to release behaviour appropriate to an enemy. There is no distinct innate prey-preference; acceptance and refusal being based upon experience. Toads are able to avoid unpalatable food after relatively short experience of it and can then readily differentiate between palatable and unpalatable food. It was found with dummies that shape, colour and movements represent distinct factors in learning and that habit-formation in response to dummies is dependent upon this fact. Learning is not influenced by "warning-coloration".

Affiliations: 1: (Institut für Vergleichende Verhaltensforschung unter der Patronanz der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, Altenberg bei Greifenstein, N.O.


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