Predator vs Prey - American Redstart vs Planthopper

By MDC | May 1, 2021
From Xplor: May/June 2021
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American Redstart vs Planthopper

The struggle to survive isn’t always a fair fight.

Jump Scare

A redstart fans its wings and tail to expose Halloween-colored feathers. The sudden flash of color startles insects and flushes them out of hiding.

Tweezer Beak

A sharp beak helps the hungry bird pluck insects from leaves while netlike whiskers funnel flying bugs into its mouth.

Pop and Hop

When spooked, a planthopper makes an explosive hop, rocketing out of reach from snapping bird beaks.

Leaf Lookalike

The leaflike veins and green color of a planthopper’s wings make the sneaky bug all but invisible as it crawls along a leaf.

And the winner is…

The agile redstart hops quickly from branch to branch, flicking its flashy feathers to flush planthoppers from hiding. Some of the bugs pop off to safety. But many end up in the bird’s belly.

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Use Xplor’s mini field guide to discover 10 of Missouri’s most common butterflies — that are anything but ordinary.

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American Mink
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For Father’s Day, wild critters pay tribute to their top-notch pops.

This Issue's Staff

Bonnie Chasteen
Les Fortenberry
Alexis (AJ) Joyce
Angie Daly Morfeld
Noppadol Paothong
Marci Porter
Laura Scheuler
Matt Seek
David Stonner
Stephanie Thurber
Cliff White