UZH-Logo

Maintenance Infos

Spatial representation of shelter locations in meerkats, Suricata suricatta


Manser, M B; Bell, M B (2004). Spatial representation of shelter locations in meerkats, Suricata suricatta. Animal Behaviour, 68(1):151-157.

Abstract

We used observations and manipulation experiments to investigate how meerkats, social mongooses living under high predation pressure, find shelter from predators quickly within their territory. We played back alarm calls to foraging meerkats and dug new boltholes and covered existing ones to see whether location or other cues were used. Meerkats almost always ran to the bolthole closest to them. This was not done by a simple rule of running back to a bolthole they had just passed, nor by escaping in any direction and finding a bolthole by chance. Meerkats nearly always ignored the boltholes that we dug but ran to those we had covered up. Our results support the hypothesis that meerkats know in which direction to run when an alarm call is given, without scanning the area for visual or olfactory cues of shelters. As meerkats have more than 1000 boltholes in their territory, our results suggest that they have detailed knowledge of the direction and the distance of specific locations. However, this does not necessarily mean that they have a spatial map of their territory; our results may be explained by place recognition or reorientation of specific landmark features.

We used observations and manipulation experiments to investigate how meerkats, social mongooses living under high predation pressure, find shelter from predators quickly within their territory. We played back alarm calls to foraging meerkats and dug new boltholes and covered existing ones to see whether location or other cues were used. Meerkats almost always ran to the bolthole closest to them. This was not done by a simple rule of running back to a bolthole they had just passed, nor by escaping in any direction and finding a bolthole by chance. Meerkats nearly always ignored the boltholes that we dug but ran to those we had covered up. Our results support the hypothesis that meerkats know in which direction to run when an alarm call is given, without scanning the area for visual or olfactory cues of shelters. As meerkats have more than 1000 boltholes in their territory, our results suggest that they have detailed knowledge of the direction and the distance of specific locations. However, this does not necessarily mean that they have a spatial map of their territory; our results may be explained by place recognition or reorientation of specific landmark features.

Citations

20 citations in Web of Science®
20 citations in Scopus®
Google Scholar™

Altmetrics

Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
590 Animals (Zoology)
Language:English
Date:2004
Deposited On:11 Feb 2008 12:13
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 12:13
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:0003-3472
Publisher DOI:10.1016/j.anbehav.2003.10.017

Download

Full text not available from this repository.View at publisher

TrendTerms

TrendTerms displays relevant terms of the abstract of this publication and related documents on a map. The terms and their relations were extracted from ZORA using word statistics. Their timelines are taken from ZORA as well. The bubble size of a term is proportional to the number of documents where the term occurs. Red, orange, yellow and green colors are used for terms that occur in the current document; red indicates high interlinkedness of a term with other terms, orange, yellow and green decreasing interlinkedness. Blue is used for terms that have a relation with the terms in this document, but occur in other documents.
You can navigate and zoom the map. Mouse-hovering a term displays its timeline, clicking it yields the associated documents.

Author Collaborations