Decrease in alarm call response among tufted capuchins in competitive feeding contexts: possible evidence for counterdeception

Wheeler, Brandon C (2010) Decrease in alarm call response among tufted capuchins in competitive feeding contexts: possible evidence for counterdeception. International Journal of Primatology, 31 (4). pp. 665-675. ISSN 0164-0291. E-ISSN 1573-8604. (doi:10.1007/s10764-010-9419-1)

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10764-010-9419-1

Abstract

Animal signals function to elicit behaviors in receivers that ultimately benefit the signaler, while receivers should respond in a way that maximizes their own fitness. However, the best response may be difficult for receivers to determine when unreliable signaling is common. “Deceptive” alarm calling is common among tufted capuchins (Cebus apella nigritus) in competitive feeding contexts, and responding to these calls is costly. Receivers should thus vary their responses based on whether a call is likely to be reliable. If capuchins are indeed able to assess reliability, I predicted that receivers will be less likely to respond to alarms that are given during competitive feeding contexts than in noncompetitive contexts, and, within feeding contexts, that individuals inside or adjacent to a food patch will be less likely to respond to alarms than those further from the resource. I tested these predictions in a group of wild capuchins by observing the reactions of focal animals to alarm calls in both noncompetitive contexts and experimental feeding contexts. Antipredator escape reactions, but not vigilance reactions, occurred significantly less often in competitive feeding contexts than in noncompetitive contexts and individuals adjacent to food patches were more likely to respond to alarm calls than were those inside or further from food patches. Although not all predictions were fully supported, the findings demonstrate that receivers vary their behavior in a way that minimizes the costs associated with “deceptive” alarms, but further research is needed to determine whether or not this can be attributed to counterdeception.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1007/s10764-010-9419-1
Uncontrolled keywords: antipredator behaviors communication deception New World primates skeptical responding
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GN Anthropology
Q Science > QL Zoology
Divisions: Faculties > Social Sciences > School of Anthropology and Conservation > Biological Anthropology
Depositing User: Brandon Wheeler
Date Deposited: 30 Mar 2016 13:27 UTC
Last Modified: 29 May 2019 17:09 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/54728 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
Wheeler, Brandon C: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-8478-3385
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