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File:Spider and fly April 2008-6.jpg
A female goldenrod crab spider (Misumena vatia) capturing a pair of mating flies. This species can change colour to match the flower.

In ethology Ambush predators or sit-and-wait predators are carnivorous animals that capture prey by stealth or cunning, not by speed or necessarily by strength. These organisms usually hide motionless and wait for prey to come within striking distance. They are often camouflaged, and may be solitary. This mode of predation may be most efficient when a predator cannot move faster than its preferred prey; otherwise, active hunting is more efficient. [1]

File:Viper.JPG
Malabar pit viper in typical ambush pose of snakes. They may lie still for days together till some prey comes their way
File:Morelet's Crocodile.jpg
Morelet's Crocodile in ambush position. The image shows a crocodile waiting in ambush. Any unwary prey which may come near the water's edge is potential meal.

It can, however, save energy for a predator that exploits predictable paths for prey, as with cats of all sizes and become an attractive strategy. Ambush predators include many fish, snakes, and other reptiles (e.g. crocodiles), as well as some mammals, birds, and spiders.


References

  1. Inon Scharf, Einat Nulman, Ofer Ovadia & Amos Bouskila (2006). Efficiency evaluation of two competing foraging modes under different conditions. The American Naturalist 168 (3): 350–357.

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