Header

UZH-Logo

Maintenance Infos

Mean fecal glucocorticoid metabolites are associated with vigilance, whereas immediate cortisol levels better reflect acute anti-predator responses in meerkats


Voellmy, Irene; Braga Goncalves, Ines; Barrette, Marie-France; Monfort, Steven; Manser, Marta (2014). Mean fecal glucocorticoid metabolites are associated with vigilance, whereas immediate cortisol levels better reflect acute anti-predator responses in meerkats. Hormones and Behavior, 66:759-765.

Abstract

Adrenal hormones likely affect anti-predator behavior in animals. With experimental field studies, we first investigated associations between mean fecal glucocorticoid metabolite (fGCs) excretion and vigilance and with behavioral responses to alarm call playbacks in free-ranging meerkats (Suricata suricatta). We then tested how vigilance and behavioral responses to alarm call playbacks were affected in individuals administered exogenous cortisol. We found a positive association between mean fGCs concentrations and vigilance behavior, but no relationship with the intensity of behavioral responses to alarm calls. However, in response to alarm call playbacks, individuals administered cortisol took slightly longer to resume foraging than control individuals treated with saline solution. Vigilance behavior, which occurs in the presence and absence of dangerous stimuli, serves to detect and
avoid potential dangers, whereas responses to alarm calls serve to avoid immediate predation. Our data show that mean fGCs excretion in meerkats was associated with vigilance, as a re-occurring anti-predator behavior over long time periods, and experimentally induced elevations of plasma cortisol affected the response to immediate threats. Together, our results indicate an association between the two types of anti-predator behavior and glucocorticoids, but that the underlying mechanisms may differ. Our study emphasizes the need to consider appropriate measures of adrenal activity specific to different contexts when assessing links between stress physiology and different anti-predator behaviors.

Abstract

Adrenal hormones likely affect anti-predator behavior in animals. With experimental field studies, we first investigated associations between mean fecal glucocorticoid metabolite (fGCs) excretion and vigilance and with behavioral responses to alarm call playbacks in free-ranging meerkats (Suricata suricatta). We then tested how vigilance and behavioral responses to alarm call playbacks were affected in individuals administered exogenous cortisol. We found a positive association between mean fGCs concentrations and vigilance behavior, but no relationship with the intensity of behavioral responses to alarm calls. However, in response to alarm call playbacks, individuals administered cortisol took slightly longer to resume foraging than control individuals treated with saline solution. Vigilance behavior, which occurs in the presence and absence of dangerous stimuli, serves to detect and
avoid potential dangers, whereas responses to alarm calls serve to avoid immediate predation. Our data show that mean fGCs excretion in meerkats was associated with vigilance, as a re-occurring anti-predator behavior over long time periods, and experimentally induced elevations of plasma cortisol affected the response to immediate threats. Together, our results indicate an association between the two types of anti-predator behavior and glucocorticoids, but that the underlying mechanisms may differ. Our study emphasizes the need to consider appropriate measures of adrenal activity specific to different contexts when assessing links between stress physiology and different anti-predator behaviors.

Statistics

Citations

12 citations in Web of Science®
11 citations in Scopus®
Google Scholar™

Altmetrics

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)
Uncontrolled Keywords:adrenal activity; alarm calls; anti-predator behavior; communication; cortisol; fecal glucocorticoids; meerkats; Suricata suricatta; vigilance
Language:English
Date:2014
Deposited On:18 Feb 2015 12:25
Last Modified:08 Dec 2017 10:48
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:0018-506X
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.yhbeh.2014.08.008

Download

Full text not available from this repository.
View at publisher