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The Interaction of the Visual and the Olfactory Systems in Guiding Prey Catching Behaviour in Salamandra Salamandra (L.)

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Behaviour toward stationary prey objects of different kinds (visible and odorous, visible and of neutral odour, and invisible odorous prey objects) was studied in two groups of Salarnandra salamandra. One group was exclusively fed moving prey (MOT animals), the other one stationary (dead) prey (STAT animals). The behaviour of the MOT animals showed that the odour of stationary prey is of more importance than the visual contrast. The behaviour to odorous visible prey objects was mainly olfactorily guided; only the snapping response was visually controlled. In STAT salamanders, however, the visual contrast of a stationary prey object was of more importance than the odour, and the complete prey catching of stationary odorous objects was mainly visually controlled. By experience with stationary prey objects, the visually guided behaviour was considerably changed. However, under conditions of light, the olfactorily controlled behaviour to invisible odorous prey objects was not significantly different from that of animals without experience with non-moving prey.

Affiliations: 1: Fachbereich 3 (Biologie/Chemie) der Universität Bremen Arbeitsgruppe Verhaltensphysiologie, Bremen, F.R.G.


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