Predator ignorance (and its opposite) in insects: a microreview of the literature

The economics of escape behaviour in the pea aphid, Acyrthosiphon pisum
In A. pisum (and, if you ask me, likely many other aphid taxa), deliberate failure to flee from predators can be induced when the opportunity costs of attempting escape exceed the costs of being eaten.

Predator foolhardiness and morphological evolution in 17-year cicadas (Magicicada spp.)
The slow flight and approachability of Magicicada is reflected in its locomotory morphology. As the genus is supposed to exhibit mass emergence for predator satiation, tameness in adult Magicicada seems to have evolved via mechanisms somewhat resembling the “island tameness” of flightless birds.

Hidden in plain orange: aposematic coloration is cryptic to a colorblind insect predator
In which Tectocoris diophthalmus looks colorful to a bunch of predators it is immune and camouflaged to a bunch it is vulnerable to.


A few years back I published, with my students, a little paper showing that post-reproductive pea aphids (those who have used up all their embryos) stand around the edges of the colony, while reproductive adults in the same colony stand in the middle. The post-reproductives cannot do much for the fitness of the clone, but they can stand in the positions most exposed to predators, and release warning chemicals as they get eaten.
Saberski, E. T., Diamond, J. D., Henneman, N. F., & Levitis, D. A. (2016). Post-reproductive parthenogenetic pea aphids (Acyrthosiphon pisum) are visually identifiable and disproportionately positioned distally to clonal colonies. PeerJ, 4, e2631.


That is completely fascinating!

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Thank you! It was a wonderful project that was really driven by the observations and curiosity of my students.

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