It seems a common theme in nature that some of the brightest, most unusally colored animals and plants are poisonous - and nature documentaries usually say that this is to warn other animals that it is poisonous or otherwise bad to consume.
What are the logistics of this, exactly?
Does the poisonousness develop before, after, or concurrently with the change in color patterns?
Are other animals supposed to know instinctively that colorful animals and plants should be avoided? Or is it a matter of them eating one, getting sick, and then having the vivid colors stick out in their mind so that they don’t go after similarly colored plants/animals in the future?
If being brightly colored is such a survival advantage, wouldn’t many species eventually mimic this adaptation even if they didn’t develop the poison to go along with it? Does this actually happen?
Is this something that happens with both animals that are poisonous (or otherwise dangerous) to eat, animals that have the ability to inflict a poisonous attack without being consumed, or both? In the latter case, wouldn’t it be enough to simply have the ability to strike out at potential predators without advertising it, and in the process, making yourself more visible?
In general, I’m trying to figure out how an animal goes from being non-poisonous/non-colorful to poisonous/colorful. Can you describe the process for me?