Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Wild cat found mimicking monkey calls; Predatory trickery documented for the first time in wild felids in Americas

Date:
July 9, 2010
Source:
Wildlife Conservation Society
Summary:
In a fascinating example of vocal mimicry, researchers have documented a wild cat species imitating the call of its intended victim: a small, squirrel-sized monkey known as a pied tamarin. This is the first recorded instance of a wild cat species in the Americas mimicking the calls of its prey.

Marguay (Leopardus wiedii).
Credit: iStockphoto/Jeff Grabert

In a fascinating example of vocal mimicry, researchers from the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and UFAM (Federal University of Amazonas) have documented a wild cat species imitating the call of its intended victim: a small, squirrel-sized monkey known as a pied tamarin. This is the first recorded instance of a wild cat species in the Americas mimicking the calls of its prey.

The extraordinary behavior was recorded by researchers from the Wildlife Conservation Society and UFAM in the Amazonian forests of the Reserva Florestal Adolpho Ducke in Brazil. The observations confirmed what until now had been only anecdotal reports from Amazonian inhabitants of wild cat species -- including jaguars and pumas -- actually mimicking primates, agoutis, and other species in order to draw them within striking range.

The observations appear in the June issue of Neotropical Primates. The authors of the paper include: Fabiano de Oliveira Calleia of Projeto Sauim-de-Coleira/UFAM; Fabio Rohe of the Wildlife Conservation Society; and Marcelo Gordo of Projeto Sauim-de-Coleira/UFAM.

"Cats are known for their physical agility, but this vocal manipulation of prey species indicates a psychological cunning which merits further study," said WCS researcher Fabio Rohe.

Researchers first recorded the incident in 2005 when a group of eight pied tamarins were feeding in a ficus tree. They then observed a margay emitting calls similar to those made by tamarin babies. This attracted the attention of a tamarin "sentinel," which climbed down from the tree to investigate the sounds coming from a tangle of vines called lianas. While the sentinel monkey started vocalizing to warn the rest of the group of the strange calls, the monkeys were clearly confounded by these familiar vocalizations, choosing to investigate rather than flee. Four other tamarins climbed down to assess the nature of the calls. At that moment, a margay emerged from the foliage walking down the trunk of a tree in a squirrel-like fashion, jumping down and then moving towards the monkeys. Realizing the ruse, the sentinel screamed an alarm and sent the other tamarins fleeing.

While this specific instance of mimicry was unsuccessful, researchers were amazed at the ingenuity of the hunting strategy.

"This observation further proves the reliability of information obtained from Amazonian inhabitants," said Dr. Avecita Chicchσn, director of the Wildlife Conservation Society's Latin America Program. "This means that accounts of jaguars and pumas using the same vocal mimicry to attract prey--but not yet recorded by scientists--also deserve investigation."

WCS is currently monitoring populations of the pied tamarin -- listed as "Endangered" on the IUCN's Red List -- and is seeking financial support to continue the study, which aims to protect this and other species from extinction. Next to Madagascar, the Amazon has the highest diversity of primates on Earth.

These behavioral insights also are indications of intact Amazon rainforest habitat. WCS works throughout the Amazon to evaluate the conservation importance of these rainforests, which have become increasingly threatened by development.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Wildlife Conservation Society. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Wildlife Conservation Society. "Wild cat found mimicking monkey calls; Predatory trickery documented for the first time in wild felids in Americas." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 9 July 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/07/100708141620.htm>.
Wildlife Conservation Society. (2010, July 9). Wild cat found mimicking monkey calls; Predatory trickery documented for the first time in wild felids in Americas. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 29, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/07/100708141620.htm
Wildlife Conservation Society. "Wild cat found mimicking monkey calls; Predatory trickery documented for the first time in wild felids in Americas." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/07/100708141620.htm (accessed July 29, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Deadly Ebola Virus Threatens West Africa

Deadly Ebola Virus Threatens West Africa

AP (July 28, 2014) — West African nations and international health organizations are working to contain the largest Ebola outbreak in history. It's one of the deadliest diseases known to man, but the CDC says it's unlikely to spread in the U.S. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

AP (July 28, 2014) — Classes are being offered nationwide to encourage African Americans to learn about cooking fresh foods based on traditional African cuisine. The program is trying to combat obesity, heart disease and other ailments often linked to diet. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Asteroid's Timing Was 'Colossal Bad Luck' For The Dinosaurs

Asteroid's Timing Was 'Colossal Bad Luck' For The Dinosaurs

Newsy (July 28, 2014) — The asteroid that killed the dinosaurs struck at the worst time for them. A new study says that if it hit earlier or later, they might've survived. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge from Nest

Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge from Nest

AP (July 27, 2014) — A live-streaming webcam catches loggerhead sea turtle hatchlings emerging from a nest in the Florida Keys. (July 27) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins