The world's most skilful predator

 作者:曹超     |      日期:2019-03-07 07:17:07
By Michael Marshall GREAT white sharks are fearsome hunters in the ocean, but put one in the Serengeti and it would become an all-you-can-eat buffet. This adorable little fellow, however, is as comfortable stalking prey on land as it is underwater. Meet the Alpine newt. Amphibians typically begin their lives in water then move onto land as adults. Alpine newts have a more flexible attitude. Adults spend the autumn on land, hibernate there through the winter, then plunge into the nearest river or lake in the spring. They remain in the water, breeding, until autumn. Yet despite their varied habitats, they feed just as well all year round, unlike most species that hunt both on land and in water, which prefer one or the other. To find out how they manage it, Egon Heiss of the University of Vienna in Austria videoed captive newts hunting at different times of the year. He put the animals through their paces in four scenarios. They were either in their aquatic or terrestrial phases, and hunted for maggots on solid ground or in water. Underwater, the newts always crept up on their prey, opened their mouths and sucked it in. On land during the terrestrial phase, newts ensnared maggots and dragged them into their mouths with a flick of the tongue. Aquatic-phase newts lured onto land grabbed maggots in their jaws, then carried them into the water to feast (Journal of Experimental Biology,