THE INFORMATION AFFORDED BY A VARIABLE SIGNAL: CONSTRAINTS ON SNAKE-ELICITED TAIL FLAGGING BY CALIFORNIA GROUND SQUIRRELS by DAVID F. HENNESSY, DONALD H. OWINGS, MATTHEW P. ROWE, RICHARD G. COSS and DANIEL W. LEGER1)2) (Graduate Group in Ecology and Department of Psychology, University of California, Davis, Calif., U.S.A.) (With 10 Figures) (Acc. 5-VII-1981) INTRODUCTION One way to identify the information afforded by a display is to deter- mine the circumstances in which the display occurs, and seek the features common to those circumstances. Such analyses have indicated that the information afforded by most vertebrate signals pertain to the signaler, and are not very informative about other potential "referents" of the display that may be quite relevant to percipients (SMITH, 1977, Ch. 4). For example, the jump-yip display of black-tailed prairie dogs (Cynomys ludovicianus) is emitted after a wide variety of threatening events, both social and predatory. The feature common to these circumstances per- tains, not to the evoking event, but to the decreased probability that the jump-yipper will flee (OmrrGS & Owtrrcs, 1979; SMITH et al., 1976). Such an outcome leads one to conclude that a percipient prairie dog must use 1) This research was supported by a Sigma
Behaviour – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 1981
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