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Response of foraging group members to sentinel calls in suricates, Suricata suricatta.


Manser, M B (1999). Response of foraging group members to sentinel calls in suricates, Suricata suricatta. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 266(1423):1013-1019.

Abstract

In the suricate (Suricata suricatta), a cooperatively breeding mongoose, one individual typically watches out for predators while the rest of the group is foraging. Most of the time these sentinels announce their guarding duty with special vocalizations. The response of foraging group members to these calls was investigated by analysing observational data, and by performing playback experiments. The use of special calls by sentinels, and the responses of the foraging group members to them, suggest that the coordination of vigilance is strongly in£uenced by vocal communication. Sentinel calls decreased the time spent alert
by the foraging group members. Other group members were less likely to go on guard when a sentinel was vocalizing. Both the proportion of time during which guards overlapped, and the proportion of time
the group was unprotected without a guard, decreased when sentinels announced their duty, due to better coordination of the rotation of sentinels. Suricates, however, do not appear to use sentinel calls to mediate a strict rotation of guarding duty.

In the suricate (Suricata suricatta), a cooperatively breeding mongoose, one individual typically watches out for predators while the rest of the group is foraging. Most of the time these sentinels announce their guarding duty with special vocalizations. The response of foraging group members to these calls was investigated by analysing observational data, and by performing playback experiments. The use of special calls by sentinels, and the responses of the foraging group members to them, suggest that the coordination of vigilance is strongly in£uenced by vocal communication. Sentinel calls decreased the time spent alert
by the foraging group members. Other group members were less likely to go on guard when a sentinel was vocalizing. Both the proportion of time during which guards overlapped, and the proportion of time
the group was unprotected without a guard, decreased when sentinels announced their duty, due to better coordination of the rotation of sentinels. Suricates, however, do not appear to use sentinel calls to mediate a strict rotation of guarding duty.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
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:1999
Deposited On:11 Feb 2008 12:15
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 12:14
Publisher:Royal Society of London
ISSN:0962-8452
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:10.1098/rspb.1999.0737
Related URLs:http://www.jstor.org/stable/51201

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