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ambush behaviour


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A form of hunting by speculation. The predator usually lurks in a camouflaged fashion in a place that potential prey are likely to frequent. Only when the prey comes within range is an attack launched. For example, the mantid (Parastagmatoptera unipunctata) is a carnivorous insect that lies in wait throughout the day and catches flies that come within reach. It sits motionless among vegetation that resembles its own form and coloration. The prey is detected by the mantid's well-developed compound eyes, and is faced by an aiming movement of the head. The mantid then strikes the prey with a very rapid movement of the forelegs.

Some ambush predators place themselves so as to obtain a good view of potential prey. Thus grouper fish (Mycteroperca spp.) lurk low down in the water, and attack prey fish that swim above them, silhouetted against the light sky.

Subjects: Zoology and Animal Sciences.


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