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Visual illusions in predator–prey interactions: birds find moving patterned prey harder to catch

Overview of attention for article published in Animal Cognition, May 2015
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About this Attention Score

  • In the top 25% of all research outputs scored by Altmetric
  • High Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age (90th percentile)
  • Good Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age and source (71st percentile)

Mentioned by

27 tweeters
3 Facebook pages


16 Dimensions

Readers on

70 Mendeley
Visual illusions in predator–prey interactions: birds find moving patterned prey harder to catch
Published in
Animal Cognition, May 2015
DOI 10.1007/s10071-015-0874-0
Pubmed ID

Liisa Hämäläinen, Janne Valkonen, Johanna Mappes, Bibiana Rojas


Several antipredator strategies are related to prey colouration. Some colour patterns can create visual illusions during movement (such as motion dazzle), making it difficult for a predator to capture moving prey successfully. Experimental evidence about motion dazzle, however, is still very scarce and comes only from studies using human predators capturing moving prey items in computer games. We tested a motion dazzle effect using for the first time natural predators (wild great tits, Parus major). We used artificial prey items bearing three different colour patterns: uniform brown (control), black with elongated yellow pattern and black with interrupted yellow pattern. The last two resembled colour patterns of the aposematic, polymorphic dart-poison frog Dendrobates tinctorius. We specifically tested whether an elongated colour pattern could create visual illusions when combined with straight movement. Our results, however, do not support this hypothesis. We found no differences in the number of successful attacks towards prey items with different patterns (elongated/interrupted) moving linearly. Nevertheless, both prey types were significantly more difficult to catch compared to the uniform brown prey, indicating that both colour patterns could provide some benefit for a moving individual. Surprisingly, no effect of background (complex vs. plain) was found. This is the first experiment with moving prey showing that some colour patterns can affect avian predators' ability to capture moving prey, but the mechanisms lowering the capture rate are still poorly understood.

Twitter Demographics

The data shown below were collected from the profiles of 27 tweeters who shared this research output. Click here to find out more about how the information was compiled.

Mendeley readers

The data shown below were compiled from readership statistics for 70 Mendeley readers of this research output. Click here to see the associated Mendeley record.

Geographical breakdown

Country Count As %
Spain 1 1%
Italy 1 1%
Costa Rica 1 1%
Switzerland 1 1%
Unknown 66 94%

Demographic breakdown

Readers by professional status Count As %
Student > Ph. D. Student 22 31%
Student > Master 12 17%
Researcher 10 14%
Student > Postgraduate 5 7%
Student > Doctoral Student 5 7%
Other 11 16%
Unknown 5 7%
Readers by discipline Count As %
Agricultural and Biological Sciences 44 63%
Psychology 6 9%
Environmental Science 3 4%
Neuroscience 2 3%
Computer Science 1 1%
Other 3 4%
Unknown 11 16%

Attention Score in Context

This research output has an Altmetric Attention Score of 17. This is our high-level measure of the quality and quantity of online attention that it has received. This Attention Score, as well as the ranking and number of research outputs shown below, was calculated when the research output was last mentioned on 14 February 2019.
All research outputs
of 13,366,062 outputs
Outputs from Animal Cognition
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Outputs of similar age
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Outputs of similar age from Animal Cognition
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Altmetric has tracked 13,366,062 research outputs across all sources so far. Compared to these this one has done particularly well and is in the 92nd percentile: it's in the top 10% of all research outputs ever tracked by Altmetric.
So far Altmetric has tracked 983 research outputs from this source. They typically receive a lot more attention than average, with a mean Attention Score of 24.8. This one has done well, scoring higher than 75% of its peers.
Older research outputs will score higher simply because they've had more time to accumulate mentions. To account for age we can compare this Altmetric Attention Score to the 228,431 tracked outputs that were published within six weeks on either side of this one in any source. This one has done particularly well, scoring higher than 90% of its contemporaries.
We're also able to compare this research output to 21 others from the same source and published within six weeks on either side of this one. This one has gotten more attention than average, scoring higher than 71% of its contemporaries.