The effect of social facilitation on vigilance in the eastern gray kangaroo, Macropus giganteus

Pays, Olivier, Goulard, Michel, Blomberg, Simon P., Goldizen, Anne W., Sirot, Etienne and Jarman, Peter J. (2009) The effect of social facilitation on vigilance in the eastern gray kangaroo, Macropus giganteus. Behavioral Ecology, 20 3: 469-477. doi:10.1093/beheco/arp019


Author Pays, Olivier
Goulard, Michel
Blomberg, Simon P.
Goldizen, Anne W.
Sirot, Etienne
Jarman, Peter J.
Title The effect of social facilitation on vigilance in the eastern gray kangaroo, Macropus giganteus
Formatted title
The effect of social facilitation on vigilance in the eastern gray kangaroo, Macropus giganteus
Journal name Behavioral Ecology   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1045-2249
Publication date 2009-05-01
Year available 2009
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1093/beheco/arp019
Open Access Status Not yet assessed
Volume 20
Issue 3
Start page 469
End page 477
Total pages 9
Editor Iain Couzin
Rob Brooks
Mark Elgar
Place of publication United States
Publisher Oxford University Press
Language eng
Subject C1
060201 Behavioural Ecology
970106 Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences
Abstract The relevance of vigilance activity to predator detection has been demonstrated in numerous studies. However, few studies have investigated the effect of one group member being vigilant on the probability of others being vigilant in group-forming prey species. Thus, we studied vigilance activity of eastern gray kangaroos Macropus giganteus that still experience occasional predation. We video recorded the behavior of all group members simultaneously and investigated the probability of a focal group member being vigilant (or nonvigilant) in relation to other individuals' vigilant and nonvigilant behaviors. Our results show that the decision of an individual to exhibit a vigilant posture depended on what it and other group members had been doing (scanning or foraging) at the preceding second and on group size. The probability of an individual being vigilant was positively affected by the proportion of companions that were vigilant at the previous second, confirming the existence in this species of a tendency for synchronization of individual vigilance. Group size affected individuals' vigilance in 3 ways. First, individuals were more likely to be vigilant if the proportion of their group mates that was vigilant was high, and this was strengthened with increasing group size. Second, the effect of the individual's own vigilance state (vigilant or not) at the previous second also increased with group size. Third, the probability of an individual being vigilant decreased with group size. These findings increase our understanding of the much-studied relationship between vigilance and group size.
Formatted abstract
The relevance of vigilance activity to predator detection has been demonstrated in numerous studies. However, few studies have investigated the effect of one group member being vigilant on the probability of others being vigilant in group-forming prey species. Thus, we studied vigilance activity of eastern gray kangaroos Macropus giganteus that still experience occasional predation. We video recorded the behavior of all group members simultaneously and investigated the probability of a focal group member being vigilant (or nonvigilant) in relation to other individuals' vigilant and nonvigilant behaviors. Our results show that the decision of an individual to exhibit a vigilant posture depended on what it and other group members had been doing (scanning or foraging) at the preceding second and on group size. The probability of an individual being vigilant was positively affected by the proportion of companions that were vigilant at the previous second, confirming the existence in this species of a tendency for synchronization of individual vigilance. Group size affected individuals' vigilance in 3 ways. First, individuals were more likely to be vigilant if the proportion of their group mates that was vigilant was high, and this was strengthened with increasing group size. Second, the effect of the individual's own vigilance state (vigilant or not) at the previous second also increased with group size. Third, the probability of an individual being vigilant decreased with group size. These findings increase our understanding of the much-studied relationship between vigilance and group size.
Keyword Allelomimesis
Group size
Kangaroos
Neighbor effect
Probability of being vigilant
Social facilitation
Vigilance
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

 
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Created: Wed, 09 Dec 2009, 01:18:37 EST by Hayley Ware on behalf of School of Biological Sciences