Learning specificity in acquired predator recognition

Learning specificity in acquired predator recognition Predator recognition is often dependent upon experience. This behavioural plasticity can potentially be exploited to enhance the antipredator behaviour of captive-bred animals, but it is first necessary to understand the specificity of learning. We enhanced the responses of tammar wallabies, Macropus eugenii , to a model fox, Vulpes vulpes , by presenting this novel predator in conjunction with a human simulating a capture procedure. A control group had identical total exposure to fox and human, but with no such predictive relationship between these two events. Animals that experienced paired presentations of fox and human behaved more cautiously towards the fox after training than controls. To assess whether this learnt response was specific to the fox, we presented the animals with an array of visual stimuli both before and after training. The tammars generalized their acquired response from the predator with which they were trained to a predator with which they were not trained (cat, Felis catus ), but not to a nonpredator (goat, Capra hircus ). Tammars also exhibited a transient increase in response to a model wallaby after training. We suggest that this effect is more likely to reflect social behaviour than generalization of the learnt response from predator to conspecific. Two additional controls revealed that changes in behaviour after training were not attributable to the presentation device and were not caused by a general decrease in response threshold associated with training. Our results suggest that tammar wallabies perceive predators as a natural category. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Animal Behaviour Elsevier

Learning specificity in acquired predator recognition

Loading next page...
 
/lp/elsevier/learning-specificity-in-acquired-predator-recognition-FHT0APfvg9
Publisher
Elsevier
Copyright
Copyright © 2001 The Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour
ISSN
0003-3472
eISSN
1095-8282
D.O.I.
10.1006/anbe.2001.1781
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Predator recognition is often dependent upon experience. This behavioural plasticity can potentially be exploited to enhance the antipredator behaviour of captive-bred animals, but it is first necessary to understand the specificity of learning. We enhanced the responses of tammar wallabies, Macropus eugenii , to a model fox, Vulpes vulpes , by presenting this novel predator in conjunction with a human simulating a capture procedure. A control group had identical total exposure to fox and human, but with no such predictive relationship between these two events. Animals that experienced paired presentations of fox and human behaved more cautiously towards the fox after training than controls. To assess whether this learnt response was specific to the fox, we presented the animals with an array of visual stimuli both before and after training. The tammars generalized their acquired response from the predator with which they were trained to a predator with which they were not trained (cat, Felis catus ), but not to a nonpredator (goat, Capra hircus ). Tammars also exhibited a transient increase in response to a model wallaby after training. We suggest that this effect is more likely to reflect social behaviour than generalization of the learnt response from predator to conspecific. Two additional controls revealed that changes in behaviour after training were not attributable to the presentation device and were not caused by a general decrease in response threshold associated with training. Our results suggest that tammar wallabies perceive predators as a natural category.

Journal

Animal BehaviourElsevier

Published: Sep 1, 2001

References

You’re reading a free preview. Subscribe to read the entire article.


DeepDyve is your
personal research library

It’s your single place to instantly
discover and read the research
that matters to you.

Enjoy affordable access to
over 18 million articles from more than
15,000 peer-reviewed journals.

All for just $49/month

Explore the DeepDyve Library

Search

Query the DeepDyve database, plus search all of PubMed and Google Scholar seamlessly

Organize

Save any article or search result from DeepDyve, PubMed, and Google Scholar... all in one place.

Access

Get unlimited, online access to over 18 million full-text articles from more than 15,000 scientific journals.

Your journals are on DeepDyve

Read from thousands of the leading scholarly journals from SpringerNature, Elsevier, Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford University Press and more.

All the latest content is available, no embargo periods.

See the journals in your area

DeepDyve

Freelancer

DeepDyve

Pro

Price

FREE

$49/month
$360/year

Save searches from
Google Scholar,
PubMed

Create folders to
organize your research

Export folders, citations

Read DeepDyve articles

Abstract access only

Unlimited access to over
18 million full-text articles

Print

20 pages / month

PDF Discount

20% off