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The unkenreflex is a passive defense posture adopted by toads, frogs and salamanders. When threatened by predators, they twist their bodies, or arch their backs and limbs to expose brightly-colored aposematic skin. The normally-concealed red, yellow, white and black patterns on the underbelly, inner surfaces of the limbs or underside of the tail serve as a visual warning to predators. To reinforce the warning, unkenreflex is sometimes accompanied by toxic and malodorous secretions from glands in the skin.

This behaviour is named after the Fire-bellied toad (German: Unke, plural: Unken) which exhibits this reflex. The same behaviour may be observed in other amphibians that do not have any warning colours.[1]


  1. ^ Brodie, Edmund (1989), , Western Publishing, ISBN 0307240746.

Topics in evolutionary ecology
v  d  e
Patterns of evolution: Convergent evolutionParallel evolution
Signals: AposematismMimicry • Crypsis • Unkenreflex
Interactions between species: Mutualism • Predation • Parasitism
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Unkenreflex". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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