The effect of social learning on avoidance of aposematic prey in juvenile great tits (Parus major)

The effect of social learning on avoidance of aposematic prey in juvenile great tits (Parus major) Social learning plays an important role in acquiring new foraging skills and food preferences in many bird species but its potential role in learning to avoid aposematic prey has never been studied. We tested the effect of social learning on the acquisition of avoidance of aposematic insect prey (firebug Pyrrhocoris apterus; Heteroptera) in juvenile, hand-reared great tits (Parus major). Behaviour towards aposematic prey was compared between two groups of birds: (1) the observers that were, prior to encounter with firebugs, allowed to watch the experienced conspecific demonstrator repeatedly refuse to attack the prey, and (2) the control birds that lacked this opportunity. Observing an experienced demonstrator was not sufficient for learning complete avoidance, because birds from both groups attacked at least the first firebug they had encountered in avoidance training. However, the opportunity to observe the avoidance behaviour of another bird significantly increased the rate of subsequent individual learning of observers in comparison with control birds. Social learning also decreased mortality of firebugs killed by the birds during the avoidance learning. Socially enhanced learning to avoid aposematic prey might be a mechanism important especially for naive juvenile birds learning from their parents, but it could also enhance learning in adults from their more experienced flock mates. Because social learning of avoidance may also lead to decreased mortality of aposematic prey, its effect should be taken into account in scenarios considering evolution and maintenance of prey warning signals. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Animal Cognition Springer Journals

The effect of social learning on avoidance of aposematic prey in juvenile great tits (Parus major)

Loading next page...
 
/lp/springer_journal/the-effect-of-social-learning-on-avoidance-of-aposematic-prey-in-lF1jRfNwmY
Publisher
Springer Berlin Heidelberg
Copyright
Copyright © 2017 by Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany
Subject
Life Sciences; Behavioral Sciences; Zoology; Psychology Research
ISSN
1435-9448
eISSN
1435-9456
D.O.I.
10.1007/s10071-017-1106-6
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Social learning plays an important role in acquiring new foraging skills and food preferences in many bird species but its potential role in learning to avoid aposematic prey has never been studied. We tested the effect of social learning on the acquisition of avoidance of aposematic insect prey (firebug Pyrrhocoris apterus; Heteroptera) in juvenile, hand-reared great tits (Parus major). Behaviour towards aposematic prey was compared between two groups of birds: (1) the observers that were, prior to encounter with firebugs, allowed to watch the experienced conspecific demonstrator repeatedly refuse to attack the prey, and (2) the control birds that lacked this opportunity. Observing an experienced demonstrator was not sufficient for learning complete avoidance, because birds from both groups attacked at least the first firebug they had encountered in avoidance training. However, the opportunity to observe the avoidance behaviour of another bird significantly increased the rate of subsequent individual learning of observers in comparison with control birds. Social learning also decreased mortality of firebugs killed by the birds during the avoidance learning. Socially enhanced learning to avoid aposematic prey might be a mechanism important especially for naive juvenile birds learning from their parents, but it could also enhance learning in adults from their more experienced flock mates. Because social learning of avoidance may also lead to decreased mortality of aposematic prey, its effect should be taken into account in scenarios considering evolution and maintenance of prey warning signals.

Journal

Animal CognitionSpringer Journals

Published: Jun 21, 2017

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 lists to
organize your research

Export lists, citations

Read DeepDyve articles

Abstract access only

Unlimited access to over
18 million full-text articles

Print

20 pages / month

PDF Discount

20% off