Re: NANFA-L-- Kin Selection

Peter Unmack (peter.lists at)
Wed, 16 Feb 2005 09:03:34 -0600 (CST)

On Wed, 16 Feb 2005, marxxx wrote:

> > fetched...). So, a handful of newts with a neon eat-me sign on them can
> > only train a handful of predators. . . .
> Good thought, but your last sentence is assuming that a predator will only
> eat one newt in it's life. It is more likely that predator would eat 100's
> or 1000's of newts throughout it life. If that is the case, each predator
> learning not eat them could have a huge impact on a localized population.

If a critter eats something unpleasant it generally learns not to do it
again. My brothers dog used to stay-in-my parents place a lot when I
lived-in-home. I always used to use large 2 litre ketchup bottles for
carrying formalin around in the field (I eat a lot of ketchup). And of
course I would leave these lying around the backyard. Well, dogs like to
chew things, but after he very slightly chewed on red container, you could
leave as many red containers around as you liked, he wasn't going to touch
it! Now, you might say that a dog is much smarter than a fish, but in
Europe it is well known that carp will often never eat a certain food
again once they have been captured eating it via angling. Many lakes have
a trophy carp that everyone fishes for, but once someone catches it on a
given bait there is no point using that bait again in that lake to catch
that fish. And most people consider carp to be pretty stupid fish.....

But it is also true that the critter being eaten must be pretty common
and/or have reproductive output as a bunch are going to get nailed each
year as each new generation of predator learns. But if you think about
predation, how many minnows does a bass eat a year? A lot more than one,
yet the minnows certainly manage to persist, thus surely a prey item that
is eaten once, but never again has a much better chance.

Peter Unmack
Canadian River, Oklahoma
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