Snooping on neighbours gives animals the upper paw

Share via AddThis
Posted July 12, 2013

snoopingonne[1]

Animals that have developed the ability to eavesdrop on their neighbours may have the edge when it comes to finding food and expanding their habitat, a new study by researchers at The University of Western Australia has found.

Dr Amanda Ridley, a Future Fellow with UWA’s Centre for Evolutionary Biology and School of Animal Biology, said her research, published in Functional Ecology, was based on studies of wild, free-living animals in the Kalahari Desert in southern Africa.

“Vocal communication has come to light over the last decade as an important way for information to be transferred among individuals within species, but relatively little attention has been given to unintentional transfer of information between species, known as eavesdropping,” Dr Ridley said.

“This is surprising because eavesdropping is likely to have considerable benefits – especially if individuals can reduce their own efforts in keeping an eye out for predators by simply eavesdropping on the alarm calls of others.

“Our research shows that a solitary bird species gains considerable benefits by following a social bird species that has a well-organised sentinel system (where individuals take turns to stand on guard and warn the rest of the group of approaching predators).

“When eavesdropping, these solitary birds can spend more of their time foraging, less time being vigilant and expand into habitat not normally available to them. Therefore the benefits of eavesdropping are large and can completely change an animal’s behaviour.”

Read more at: Phys.org



45,711 science & technology articles

Categories

Our Articles (see all)

General News

Follow us

Facebook   Twitter   Pinterest   StumbleUpon   Plurk
Google+   Tumblr   Delicious   RSS   Newsletter via Email

Featured Video (see all)


Self-healing material could plug life-threatening holes in spacecraft
For astronauts living in space with objects zooming around them at 22,000 miles per hour like rogue super-bullets,…

Featured Image (see all)


Stark Beauty of Supersonic Shock Waves
Using a massive update to a 150-year-old German photography technique, NASA and the United States Air Force recently…