Responses of the Toad Bufo bufo (L.) to Stationary Prey Stimuli1


  • 1

    Supported by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft.

FB Biologie, Universität Bremen, Postfach 33 04 40, D-2800 Bremen 33.

Abstract and Summary

In the present work toads (Bufo bufo) are shown to respond with prey catching to stationary dummies without previous or accompanying visual or olfactory stimulation. The subjects very rarely showed jerky head movements which, therefore, cannot be necessary for perception of stationary objects. Size preference with respect to stationary stimuli is about the same as in experiments with moving stimuli. However, differences exist between the effects of stationary and moving stimuli with respect to shape and orientation. If a square measuring 10 times 10 mm and a rectangle measuring 5 times 20 mm, oriented either horizontally or vertically, are presented within the frontal-vertical plane, the square is preferred to the rectangles, and among these the horizontal rectangle is to the vertical one. This latter preference is due to the negative effect of the vertical extension: If the vertical rectangle is reduced in length, it becomes more effective as compared to the horizontal rectangle. In the horizontal (X-Z) plane the square and the rectangle oriented parallel to the Z-axis are equally superior to the bar oriented parallel to the X-axis. At presentation of a pair of stimuli in both planes, the one in the frontal-vertical plane is always preferred to that in the horizontal plane.

Correspondences and differences of these results to those from experiments with moving prey dummies are discussed.