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Abstract

In evolutionary biology, predator-prey species pairs can be observed participating in evolutionary arms races between adaptations and counter-adaptations. For example, as a prey becomes more adept at avoiding capture, its predator becomes a more adept hunter. The rough-skinned newt (Taricha granulosa) produces a toxin that protects it from virtually all predators, except one. That one predator is the common garter snake (Thamnophis sirtalis), which has evolved resistance to this toxin. This predator-prey pair is seemingly engaged in a perpetual battle for higher toxicity and better resistance. While both adaptations come with costs, the coexistence of newt and garter snake imposes reciprocal selective pressure that drives this arms race.

Digital Object Identifier

10.5206/wurjhns.2017-18.5

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