Selective habituation shapes acoustic predator recognition in harbour seals

  title={Selective habituation shapes acoustic predator recognition in harbour seals},
  author={Volker B Deecke and Peter J. B. Slater and John K. B. Ford},
Predation is a major force in shaping the behaviour of animals, so that precise identification of predators will confer substantial selective advantages on animals that serve as food to others. Because experience with a predator can be lethal, early researchers studying birds suggested that predator recognition does not require learning. However, a predator image that can be modified by learning and experience will be advantageous in situations where cues associated with the predator are highly… 
Beaked and Killer Whales Show How Collective Prey Behaviour Foils Acoustic Predators
It is shown that, in contrast to visual and chemical signallers, aggregated acoustic signaller need not face higher predator encounter rate, this is the case for prey groups that synchronize vocal behaviour but have negligible signal time-overlap in their vocalizations.
Prey Responses to Predator's Sounds: A Review and Empirical Study
It is found that Mule deer respond to and discriminate among predators based on predator vocalizations and have retained an ability to respond to wolves that have been extinct from the study area since the early 20th century.
Predator sound playbacks reveal strong avoidance responses in a fight strategist baleen whale
Experimental evidence is provided that humpback whales can exhibit a strong horizontal avoidance as an initial stage of anti-predator defence, indicating that anti-Predator responses may be more graded and mixed than previously recognized.
Selective reactions to different killer whale call categories in two delphinid species
Characterization of the anti-predator behavior of two delphinid species using controlled playback of killer whale calls suggests that structural features of the calls convey information about predatory risk.
Evidence for discrimination between feeding sounds of familiar fish and unfamiliar mammal-eating killer whale ecotypes by long-finned pilot whales
It is concluded that pilot whales are able to acoustically discriminate between familiar and unfamiliar KW ecotypes, enabling them to adjust their behavior according to the perceived disturbance type.
Learning to distinguish between predators and non-predators: understanding the critical role of diet cues and predator odours in generalisation
The first comprehensive investigation of how prey integrate information on predator odours and predator diet cues in generalisation enables prey to develop highly plastic and accurate recognition templates that will increase survival in patchy environments where they have little prior knowledge is conducted.
Indication that the behavioural responses of humpback whales to killer whale sounds are influenced by trophic relationships
Results indicate that humpback whales may be able to functionally discriminate between the sounds of different killer whale ecotypes, suggesting that marine mammals could rely on eavesdropping as a primary source of information to make decisions during heterospecific encounters.
Non-Selective and Time-Dependent Behavioural Responses of Common Toads (Bufo bufo) to Predator Acoustic Cues
It is proposed that the time-dependent response to acoustic stimuli of common toads represents a case of threat-sensitivity and demonstrates that it can occur even when the response to the threat is not predator specific, and concluded that B. bufo has not developed a selective recognition of predator vocalizations.
Prey switching by killer whales in the north-east Atlantic: observational evidence and experimental insights
  • D. Vongraven, A. Bisther
  • Environmental Science
    Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom
  • 2013
The results of ten years of observational and photo-identification data of a population of killer whales that follows the Norwegian spring-spawning stock of Atlantic herring support the hypothesis based on the long-term markers, of a degree of specialization, with a small number of groups persistently feeding upon mammals, but switching between herring and seals.


Differences in the social organization and behavior of the resident and transient killer whales in Prince William Sound are discussed in the light of the dietary differences documented here.
The mixed blessing of echolocation: differences in sonar use by fish-eating and mammal-eating killer whales
In both populations, echolocation use per individual decreased with increasing group size, suggesting the sharing of information between group members, and no relationships were found between eCholocation activity and water clarity for whales of either population.
Dietary specialization in two sympatric populations of killer whales (Orcinus orca) in coastal British Columbia and adjacent waters
The existence of strikingly divergent prey preferences of resident and transient killer whales is revealed, which are reflected in distinctive foraging strategies and related sociobiological traits of these sympatric populations.
Vocal traditions among resident killer whales (Orcinus orca) in coastal waters of British Columbia
Underwater vocalizations were recorded during repeated encounters with 16 pods, or stable kin groups, of resident killer whales off the coast of British Columbia, finding that individuals appear to acquire their pod's call repertoire by learning, and repertoires can persist with little change for over 25 years.
Seasonal movements and foraging behaviour of northern resident killer whales (Orcinus orca) in relation to the inshore distribution of salmon (Oncorhynchus spp.) in British Columbia
The hypothesis that northern resident killer whales move in response to the seasonal availability of salmon was tested using sightings and acoustic recordings of whales and data on the timing and abundance of salmon in Johnstone Strait between 1984 and 1988 and from King Island for a 2-month period in 1989.
Dialect change in resident killer whales: implications for vocal learning and cultural transmission
Vocal matching between members of different matrilineal social groups of resident killer whales would suggest that vocal learning is not limited to vertical transmission from mother to offspring, which has important implications for models of gene-culture coevolution.
Cultural transmission within maternal lineages: vocal clans in resident killer whales in southern Alaska
It is shown that clans exist among resident type killer whales, Orcinus orca, in southern Alaska and argued that a combination of cultural drift and selection are the main mechanisms for the maintenance of clans.
Bat Predation and the Evolution of Frog Vocalizations in the Neotropics
Bat predation has probably had an important influence on the evolution of frog vocalizations in the Neotropics, and the selective advantages of loud, rapid mating calls in anurans are balanced by an increased risk of predation.
Low genetic variation among killer whales (Orcinus orca) in the eastern north Pacific and genetic differentiation between foraging specialists.
Low levels of genetic dispersal between foraging specialists and a pattern of genetic differentiation consistent with matrifocal population structure and small effective population size are suggested.
Genetic differentiation between sympatric Killer whale populations
DNA fingerprinting showed very low levels of variation within populations relative to comparisons between allopatric populations, suggesting inbreeding, consistent with predictions about the genetic structure of Killer whale populations based on behavioural observations and variation in colour morphology.