The effects of recruitment to direct predator cues on predator responses in meerkats

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dc.contributor.author Zöttl, Markus
dc.contributor.author Lienert, Raphaela
dc.contributor.author Clutton-Brock, Tim H.
dc.contributor.author Millesi, Eva
dc.contributor.author Manser, Marta B.
dc.date.accessioned 2013-05-22T07:27:32Z
dc.date.available 2014-01-31T00:20:04Z
dc.date.issued 2013
dc.description.abstract Behavioral responses of animals to direct predator cues (DPC; e. g. urine) are common and may improve their survival. We investigated wild meerkat (Suricata suricatta) responses to DPCs by taking an experimental approach. When meerkats encounter a DPC they often recruit group members by emitting a call type, which causes the group members to interrupt foraging and approach the caller. The aim of this study was to identify the qualities of olfactory predator cues, which affect the strength of response by meerkats, and determine the benefits of responses to such cues. Experimental exposure to dog (Canis lupus) urine as a DPC revealed that the recruited individuals increased vigilance to fresh urine in comparison to older urine, whereas a higher quantity of urine did not induce such an effect. Both freshness and higher quantities increased the proportion of group members recruited. These results indicate that recruitment might play a crucial role in correctly assessing the current level of danger and that recruiting might facilitate group decision-making. To test the prediction that the reaction to a DPC enhances early predator response, we presented a DPC of a predator and a control cue of a herbivore, and each time simultaneously moved a full-mounted caracal (Caracal caracal) in the vicinity of the group. Meerkats responded earlier to the caracal when the DPC was presented, indicating that the response to a DPC facilitates predator response and that they use information from the cue that reliably reflects the risk in the current moment. en_US
dc.description.librarian hb2013 en_US
dc.description.sponsorship This work was supported by a “Förderungstipendium” and a “KWA” from the University of Vienna to MZ covering travel costs to him, the Zoological Institute of the University of Zurich to MBM for all research expenses in the field due to this study, and Cambridge and Zurich University for financing the long term field project. en_US
dc.description.uri http://beheco.oxfordjournals.org/ en_US
dc.identifier.citation Zöttl, M, Lienert, R, Clutton-Brock, T, Millesi, E & Manser, MB 2013, 'The effects of recruitment to direct predator cues on predator responses in meerkats', Behavioral Ecology, vol. 24, no.1, pp. 198-204. en_US
dc.identifier.issn 1045-2249 (print)
dc.identifier.issn 1465-7279 (online)
dc.identifier.other 10.1093/beheco/ars154
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/2263/21530
dc.language.iso en en_US
dc.publisher Oxford University Press en_US
dc.rights Oxford University Press. This is a pre-copy-editing, author-produced PDF of an article accepted for publication in Behavioral Ecology. following peer review. The definitive publisher-authenticated version Behavioral Ecology, vol. 24, no. 1. pp. 198-204. 2013 is available online att: http://beheco.oxfordjournals.org/ DOI : 10.1093/beheco/ars154 en_US
dc.subject Direct predator cue en_US
dc.subject Recruitment en_US
dc.subject Olfactory cue en_US
dc.subject Vigilance en_US
dc.subject Meerkat (Suricata suricatta) en_US
dc.subject Predator oder en_US
dc.subject Predator detection en_US
dc.title The effects of recruitment to direct predator cues on predator responses in meerkats en_US
dc.type Postprint Article en_US


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