Cookies Policy

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

I accept this policy

Find out more here

Vervet monkey (Chlorocebus pygerythrus) alarm calls to leopards (Panthera pardus) function as a predator deterrent

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 BrillOnline platform automatically have access to the MyBook option for the title(s) acquired by the Library. Brill MyBook is a print-on-demand paperback copy which is sold at a favorably uniform low price.

Access this article

+ Tax (if applicable)
Add to Favorites
You must be logged in to use this functionality

image of Behaviour

Behavioural predator–prey interactions are difficult to study, especially when predators avoid humans. To gain greater understanding of their dynamism, we conducted a 14-month field study in which we minimized human presence by employing acoustic recorders and camera traps, along with GPS collars deployed on vervet monkeys (Chlorocebus pygerythrus) and leopards (Panthera pardus) in Laikipia, Kenya. Recordings at the vervets’ sleeping site revealed that they gave ‘leopard’ alarm calls most frequently near dusk and dawn, whereas photographs showed that leopards approached vervets more closely at night, when the monkeys alarm-called less often. GPS data showed that after vervets alarm-called, leopards within 200 m quickly moved away, changing direction, but when vervets did not alarm-call, leopards continued moving forward. These results reveal that vervets’ leopard alarm calls function as a predator deterrent in addition to a conspecific warning call.

Affiliations: 1: cMpala Research Centre, Nanyuki, Kenya ; 2: bAnimal Behavior Graduate Group, University of California, Davis, CA 95616, USA ; 3: aDepartment of Anthropology, University of California, Davis, CA 95616, USA

*Corresponding author’s e-mail address:

Full text loading...


Data & Media loading...

1. Athreya V., Odden M., Linnell J.D.C., Krishnaswamy J., Karanth U. (2013). "Big cats in our backyards: persistence of large carnivores in a human dominated landscape in India". — PLoS ONE Vol 8: e57872. [Crossref]
2. Bailey T.N. (1993). The African leopard: ecology and behavior of a solitary felid. — Columbia University Press, New York, NY.
3. Berryman A.A. (1992). "The origins and evolution of predator–prey theory". — Ecology Vol 73: 1530-1535. [Crossref]
4. Busse C. (1980). "Leopard and lion predation upon chacma baboons living in the Moremi Wildlife Reserve". — Botswana Notes Rec. Vol 12: 15-21.
5. Campos F.A., Fedigan L.M. (2014). "Spatial ecology of perceived predation risk and vigilance behavior in white-faced capuchins". — Behav. Ecol. Vol 25: 477-486. [Crossref]
6. Caro T.M. (1989). "Missing links in predator and antipredator behavior". — Trends Ecol. Evol. Vol 4: 333-334. [Crossref]
7. Caro T.M. (1995). "Pursuit-deterrence revisited". — Trends Ecol. Evol. Vol 10: 500-503. [Crossref]
8. Caro T.M. (2005). Anti-predator defenses in birds and mammals. — University of Chicago Press, Chicago, IL.
9. Chase Grey J.N., Kent V.T., Hill R.A. (2013). "Evidence of a high density population of harvested leopards in a montane environment". — PLoS ONE Vol 8: e82832. [Crossref]
10. Cheney D.L., Seyfarth R.M. (1981). "Selective forces affecting the predator alarm calls of vervet monkeys". — Behaviour Vol 76: 25-61. [Crossref]
11. Cheney D.L., Seyfarth R.M. (1990). How monkeys see the world. — University of Chicago Press, Chicago, IL.
12. Cheney D.L., Seyfarth R.M., Fischer J., Beehner J., Bergman T., Johnson S.E., Kitchen D.M., Palombit R.A., Rendall D., Silk J.B. (2004). "Factors affecting reproduction and mortality among baboons in the Okavango Delta, Botswana". — Int. J. Primatol. Vol 25: 401-428. [Crossref]
13. Clark R.W. (2005). "Pursuit-deterrent communication between prey animals and timber rattlesnakes (Crotalus horridus): the response of snakes to harassment displays". — Behav. Ecol. Sociobiol. Vol 59: 258-261. [Crossref]
14. Coleman B.T., Hill R.A. (2013). "Living in a landscape of fear: the impact of predation, resource availability and habitat structure on primate range use". — Anim. Behav. Vol 88: 165-173. [Crossref]
15. Cowlishaw G. (1994). "Vulnerability to predation in baboon populations". — Behaviour Vol 131: 293-304. [Crossref]
16. Enstam K.L., Isbell L.A. (2002). "Comparison of responses to alarm calls by patas (Erythrocebus patas) and vervet (Cercopithecus aethiops) monkeys in relation to habitat structure". — Am. J. Phys. Anthropol. Vol 119: 3-14. [Crossref]
17. Frank L., Simpson D., Woodroffe R. (2003). "Foot snares: an effective method for capturing African lions". — Wildl. Soc. Bull. Vol 31: 309-314.
18. Grobler J.P., Turner T.R. (2010). "A novel trap design for the capture and sedation of vervet monkeys (Chlorocebus aethiops)". — S. Afr. J. Wildl. Res. Vol 40: 163-168. [Crossref]
19. Hammond J.I., Luttbeg B., Brodin T., Sih A. (2012). "Spatial scale influences the outcome of the predator–prey space race between tadpoles and predatory dragonflies". — Funct. Ecol. Vol 26: 522-531. [Crossref]
20. Hart D.L., Sussman R.W. (2005). Man the hunted: primates, predators, and human evolution. — Westview Press, Boulder, CO.
21. Hasson O. (1991). "Pursuit-deterrent signals: communication between prey and predator". — Trends Ecol. Evol. Vol 6: 325-329. [Crossref]
22. Isbell L.A. (1990). "Sudden short-term increase in mortality of vervet monkeys (Cercopithecus aethiops) due to leopard predation in Amboseli National Park, Kenya". — Amer. J. Primatol. Vol 21: 41-52. [Crossref]
23. Isbell L.A. (1994). "Predation on primates: ecological patterns and evolutionary consequences". — Evol. Anthropol. Vol 3: 61-71. [Crossref]
24. Isbell L.A., Young T.P. (1993). "Human presence reduces predation in a free-ranging vervet monkey population in Kenya". — Anim. Behav. Vol 45: 1233-1235. [Crossref]
25. Isbell L.A., Young T.P., Jaffe K.E., Carlson A.A., Chancellor R.L. (2009). "Demography and life histories of sympatric patas monkeys (Erythrocebus patas) and vervets (Cercopithecus aethiops) in Laikipia, Kenya". — Int. J. Primatol. Vol 30: 103-124. [Crossref]
26. Kiffner C., Ndibalema V., Kioko J. (2012). "Leopard (Panthera pardus) aggregation and interactions with Olive baboons (Papio anubis) in Serengeti National Park, Tanzania". — Afr. J. Ecol. Vol 51: 168-171. [Crossref]
27. Kitchen D.M., Bergman T.J., Cheney D.L., Nicholson J.R., Seyfarth R.M. (2010). "Comparing responses of four ungulate species to playbacks of baboon alarm calls". — Anim. Cogn. Vol 13: 861-870. [Crossref]
28. Lea A.J., Barrera J.P., Tom L.M., Blumstein D.T. (2008). "Heterospecific eavesdropping in a nonsocial species". — Behav. Ecol. Vol 19: 1041-1046. [Crossref]
29. Lima S.L. (2002). "Putting predators back into behavioral predator–prey interactions". — Trends Ecol. Evol. Vol 17: 70-75. [Crossref]
30. Müller C.A., Manser M.B. (2008). "The information banded mongooses extract from heterospecific alarms". — Anim. Behav. Vol 75: 897-904. [Crossref]
31. Ngoprasert D., Lynam A.J., Gale G.A. (2007). "Human disturbance affects habitat use and behaviour of Asiatic leopard Panthera pardus in Kaeng Krachan National Park, Thailand". — Oryx Vol 41: 343-351. [Crossref]
32. Odden M., Athreya V., Rattan S., Linnell J.D.C. (2014). "Adaptable neighbours: movement patterns of GPS-collared leopards in human dominated landscapes in India". — PLoS ONE Vol 9: e112044. [Crossref]
33. Price T., Ndiaye O., Hammerschmidt K., Fischer J. (2014). "Limited geographic variation in the acoustic structure of and responses to adult male alarm barks of African green monkeys". — Behav. Ecol. Sociobiol. Vol 68: 815-825. [Crossref]
34. Savino J.F., Stein R.A. (1982). "Predator–prey interaction between largemouth bass and bluegills as influenced by simulated, submersed vegetation". — Trans. Am. Fish. Soc. Vol 111: 255-266. [Crossref]
35. Schel A.M., Candiotti A., Zuberbühler K. (2010). "Predator-deterring alarm call sequences in Guereza colobus monkeys are meaningful to conspecifics". — Anim. Behav. Vol 80: 799-808. [Crossref]
36. Seyfarth R.M., Cheney D.L., Marler P. (1980a). "Monkey responses to three different alarm calls: evidence of predator classification and semantic communication". — Science Vol 210: 801-803. [Crossref]
37. Seyfarth R.M., Cheney D.L., Marler P. (1980b). "Vervet monkey alarm calls: semantic communication in a free-ranging primate". — Anim. Behav. Vol 28: 1070-1094. [Crossref]
38. Shelley E.L., Blumstein D.T. (2005). "The evolution of vocal alarm communication in rodents". — Behav. Ecol. Vol 16: 169-177. [Crossref]
39. Sikes R.S., Gannon W.L. & Animal Care and Use Committee (2011). "Guidelines of the American Society of Mammalogists for the use of wild animals in research". — J. Mammal. Vol 92: 235-253. [Crossref]
40. Stankowich T., Coss R.G. (2008). "Alarm walking in Columbian black-tailed deer: its characterization and possible antipredatory signaling functions". — J. Mammal. Vol 89: 636-645. [Crossref]
41. Struhsaker T.T. (1967). "Ecology of vervet monkeys (Cercopithecus aethiops) in the Masai-Amboseli Game Reserve, Kenya". — Ecology Vol 48: 891-904. [Crossref]
42. Willems E.P., Hill R.A. (2009). "Predator-specific landscapes of fear and resource distribution: effects on spatial range use". — Ecology Vol 90: 546-555. [Crossref]
43. Woodland D.J., Jaafar Z., Knight M.-L. (1980). "The “pursuit deterrent” function of alarm signals". — Am. Nat. Vol 115: 748-753. [Crossref]
44. Zuberbühler K., Noë R., Seyfarth R.M. (1997). "Diana monkey long-distance calls: messages for conspecifics and predators". — Anim. Behav. Vol 53: 589-604. [Crossref]
45. Zuberbühler K., Jenny D., Bshary R. (1999). "The predator deterrent function of primate alarm calls". — Ethology Vol 105: 477-490. [Crossref]

Article metrics loading...



Can't access your account?
  • Tools

  • Add to Favorites
  • Printable version
  • Email this page
  • Subscribe to ToC alert
  • Get permissions
  • Recommend to your library

    You must fill out fields marked with: *

    Librarian details
    Your details
    Why are you recommending this title?
    Select reason:
    Behaviour — Recommend this title to your library
  • Export citations
  • Key

  • Full access
  • Open Access
  • Partial/No accessInformation