Individual traits influence vigilance in wild eastern grey kangaroos

Edwards, A. E., Best, E. C., Blomberg, S. P. and Goldizen, A. W. (2013) Individual traits influence vigilance in wild eastern grey kangaroos. Australian Journal of Zoology, 61 4: 332-341. doi:10.1071/ZO13025


Author Edwards, A. E.
Best, E. C.
Blomberg, S. P.
Goldizen, A. W.
Title Individual traits influence vigilance in wild eastern grey kangaroos
Journal name Australian Journal of Zoology   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0004-959X
1446-5698
Publication date 2013-09-26
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1071/ZO13025
Volume 61
Issue 4
Start page 332
End page 341
Total pages 10
Place of publication Clayton, VIC, Australia
Publisher C S I R O Publishing
Language eng
Abstract Vigilance is an essential component of antipredator behaviour and is also used to monitor conspecifics, but is traded off against feeding in herbivores. This trade-off can be influenced by variation in many environmental, social and individual traits. Our aim was to test the relationship between individual-level traits, including boldness, body condition and reproductive state, and vigilance, while controlling for environmental and social variables. Using multiple 5-min video samples of 30 foraging, individually recognisable, female eastern grey kangaroos (Macropus giganteus) at Sundown National Park in Queensland, we investigated individual-level variation in the duration, intensity and target of vigilance behaviour during foraging. On separate occasions, we used flight-initiation distance tests to measure boldness in our kangaroos. Females with longer flight-initiation distances (shyer females) spent more time vigilant, providing preliminary support for studies of animal personality that have suggested that boldness may covary with vigilance. Body condition did not affect the total time spent vigilant, but females in poorer body condition spent more of their vigilance time in low-intensity vigilance. Vigilance patterns were not related to reproductive state, but varied among months and differed between mornings and afternoons, and females spent more time in high-intensity vigilance when further from cover. Even after accounting for all our variables we found that 7% of the variation in total time vigilant and 14% of the variation in vigilance intensity was explained by individual identity. This highlights the importance of individual-level variation in vigilance behaviour.
Keyword Antipredator behaviour
Boldness
Group-size effect
Personality
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collection: School of Biological Sciences Publications
 
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