Joint tail and vocal alarm signals of gray squirrels (Sciurus carolinensis)
No metrics data to plot.
The attempt to load metrics for this article has failed.
The attempt to plot a graph for these metrics has failed.
The full text of this article is not currently available.
Brill’s MyBook program is exclusively available on BrillOnline Books and Journals.
Students and scholars affiliated with an institution that has purchased a Brill E-Book
on the Brill platform automatically have access to the MyBook option for the title(s)
acquired by the Library. MyBook is a cheap paperback edition of the original book and will be sold at uniform, low price.
Threat-specific vocalizations have been observed in primates and ground squirrels, but their contemporaneous usage with visible signals has not been experimentally analyzed for association with threat type. Here we examine the eastern gray squirrel, an arboreal squirrel that uses both vocal and tail signals as alarms. Squirrels were presented with cat and hawk models simulating natural terrestrial or aerial predator attacks and also with control objects that do not resemble predators but approach in a similar manner. Individuals responded with tail signals (twitches and flags) and vocalizations (kuks, quaas and moans), but only flags and moans are associated with predator type. Moans were elicited primarily by aerial stimuli and flags by terrestrial stimuli. Eastern gray squirrels use an alarm-signaling system in which signals in each modality potentially are associated with particular attributes of a threat or may be general alarms. Terrestrially-approaching stimuli yielded vocal and tail alarm signals regardless of whether the stimulus resembled a predator. With aerially-approaching stimuli, however, quaas were used more often when the stimulus resembled an aerial predator than when it did not. An approaching object’s physical appearance may therefore affect squirrels’ responses to aerial, but not terrestrial, objects. When the stimuli resembled real predators approaching in the natural manner (terrestrially or aerially), both tail flags and vocal moans were associated with predator type, so we also considered moans and flags together. The presence and absence of moans and flags in an alarm signaling bout yields a higher statistical index of predictive association as to whether the threat is aerial or terrestrial than does either component alone.
1: Department of Biology, University of Miami, 215 Cox Science Center, 1301 Memorial Drive, Coral Gables, FL 33124-0421, USA
6. DigweedS. , RendallD. ( 2009). "Predator-associated vocalizations in North American red squirrels ( Tamiasciurus hudsonicus): to whom are alarm calls addressed and how do they function?"— Ethology Vol 115: 1190- 1199. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1439-0310.2009.01709.x
7. FitzgibbonC.D. ( 1994). "The costs and benefits of predator inspection behaviour in Thomson’s gazelles". — Behav. Ecol. Sociobiol. Vol 34: 139- 148. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/BF00164184
8. FurrerR.D. , ManserM.B. ( 2009). "The evolution of urgency-based and functionally referential alarm calls in ground-dwelling species". — Am. Nat. Vol 173: 400- 410. http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/596541
9. HennessyD.F. , OwingsD.H. , RoweM.P. , CossR.G. , LegerD.W. ( 1981). "The information afforded by a variable signal: constraints on snake-elicited tail flagging by California ground squirrels". — Behaviour Vol 78: 188- 226. http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/156853981X00329
10. HuynhH. , BertolinoS. , KoprowskiJ. , WilliamsG. , ThompsonC. , McAlpineD. ( 2011). "The even darker side of the eastern gray squirrel ( Sciurus carolinensis): a review of global introductions, invasion biology, and pest management strategies". — Julius-Kühn-Archiv Vol 432: 31.
11. KaufmanK.B. , RosenthalR. ( 2009). "Can you believe my eyes? The importance of interobserver reliability statistics in observations of animal behaviour". — Anim. Behav. Vol 78: 1487- 1491. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.anbehav.2009.09.014
17. ManserM.B. ( 2001). "The acoustic structure of suricates’ alarm calls varies with predator type and the level of response urgency". — Proc. Roy. Soc. Lond. B: Biol. Sci. Vol 268: 2315- 2324. http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2001.1773
18. MarlerP. , EvansC.S. , HauserM.D. ( 1992). "Animal signals: motivational, referential, or both?"— In: Nonverbal vocal communication: comparative and developmental approaches. Studies in Emotion and Social Interaction( PapousekH. , JürgensU. , eds). Cambridge University Press, New York, NY, p. 66- 86.
19. McRaeT.R. ( 2012). Predator-specificity of multimodal alarm signals in the eastern gray squirrel ( Sciurus carolinensis). — PhD dissertation, University of Miami, Coral Gables, FL.
20. MengH. ( 1959). "Food habits of nesting Cooper’s hawks and goshawks in New York and Pennsylvania". — Wilson Bull. Vol 71: 169- 174.
26. PartanS.R. , FulmerA.G. , GounardM.A.M. , RedmondJ.E. ( 2010). "Multimodal alarm behavior in urban and rural gray squirrels studied by means of observation and a mechanical robot". — Curr. Zool. Vol 56: 313- 326.
34. StruhsakerT.T. ( 1967). "Auditory communication among vervet monkeys ( Cercopithecus aethiops)". — In: Social communication among primates, 1st edn.( AltmannS.A. , ed.). The University of Chicago Press, Chicago, IL, p. 281- 324.
35. SwaisgoodR.R. , RoweM.P. , OwingsD.H. ( 2003). "Antipredator responses of California ground squirrels to rattlesnakes and rattling sounds: the roles of sex, reproductive parity, and offspring age in assessment and decision-making rules". — Behav. Ecol. Sociobiol. Vol 55: 22- 31. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00265-003-0684-2