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Re: Egyptian Plovers and similar symbiosis

On Wed, Feb 16th, 2011 at 7:51 AM, Scott Hartman <skeletaldrawing@gmail.com> 

> So, I'm sure most of the DML readers have heard of the "Egyptian
> Plover cleaning the teeth of Nile crocs" bit, and I further expect
> most know that this behavior is at best undocumented, at worst a myth.

Egyptian plovers do form a symbiotic bond with nile crocs, but it has more to 
do with mutual nest 
guarding. The plover gains the advantage of a bloody great croc preventing many 
predators from 
approaching the plover's nest, while the croc gains an early warning system to 
alert it to the 
presence of stealthy monitor lizards who would gladly make a meal of croc eggs 
(or plover eggs, 
for that matter). As soon as the plover gives the warning cry, the croc leaves 
the water and 
approaches its own nest.

As for the mouth-cleaning behaviour - has this photo been faked?


Dann Pigdon
Spatial Data Analyst               Australian Dinosaurs
Melbourne, Australia               http://home.alphalink.com.au/~dannj