The effect of pup vocalisations on food allocation in a cooperative mammal, the meerkat (Suricata suricatta)

  title={The effect of pup vocalisations on food allocation in a cooperative mammal, the meerkat (Suricata suricatta)},
  author={Marta B. Manser and Gregory D. Avey},
  journal={Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology},
  • M. Manser, G. Avey
  • Published 17 November 2000
  • Psychology
  • Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology
Abstract In the meerkat (Suricata suricatta), a cooperative mongoose, pups follow potential feeders while the group is foraging and emit incessant calls when soliciting food from them. In contrast to a ’stationary’ brood of chicks, in which nestlings are fed at a fixed location, meerkat pups are ’mobile’ and become spread out. The question arises whether meerkat pups that experience different constraints to those facing chicks have evolved similar begging strategies. This paper describes the… 
Signals of need in a cooperatively breeding mammal with mobile offspring
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The study shows that meerkats modify their close call production depending on benefits gained from calling and provides an example of the flexible use of one calling system in the presence of another, here contact calls versus begging calls, within the same species.
Do meerkat (Suricata suricatta) pups exhibit strategic begging behaviour and so exploit adults that feed at relatively high rates?
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Begging Signals in a Mobile Feeding System: The Evolution of Different Call Types
It is shown that mobile but dependent offspring adapt to different contexts in a mobile feeding system by using a repertoire of begging calls, which can be differentiated on the basis of their acoustic structure.
The development of foraging microhabitat preferences in meerkats
Detailed longitudinal data are used from meerkats to examine how individual learning and the use of social information affect the development of foraging microhabitat preferences.
‘False feeding’ and aggression in meerkat societies
Do fledglings choose wisely? An experimental investigation into social foraging behaviour
It is found that pied babbler fledglings are sensitive to and can respond to short-term changes in adult foraging success, enabling them to maximize their nutritional intake, a behavioural adjustment that has long-term benefits in this system.
Early body condition, time budgets and the acquisition of foraging skills in meerkats
Does resource availability affect offspring begging and parental provisioning in a partially begging species?
It is suggested that the larvae adjust their begging to the behaviour of their parents and the number of siblings, but not to the amount of resources, and parents adjust the time spent provisioning to the average amount of begging by each larva in the brood, andNot to the availability of resources.


Food allocation among nestling starlings: sibling competition and the scope of parental choice
Both begging intensity and position were functions of the treatment previously experienced, with target chicks begging more and attaining positions closer to the nest entrance after they had spent time in larger broods, and it is postulate that these factors must be included in theoretical analyses of the evolution of food-solicitation signalling.
Chick begging as a signal: are nestlings honest?
The view that begging is a reliable signal of individual chick state and does not involve responses to the effort of nest mates is supported.
The Energetic Cost of Begging in Nestling Passerines
The assumption that begging is energetically costly needs to be reexamined and, until then, conclusions of models dependent on this assumption should be considered tentative.
Experimental evidence that nestling begging behaviour incurs a cost due to nest predation
  • David G. Haskell
  • Environmental Science, Biology
    Proceedings of the Royal Society of London. Series B: Biological Sciences
  • 1994
The first experimental test of the assumption that forms the foundation of all these models: that begging behaviour bears a direct cost was described, showing that begging was costly for birds that nest on the ground, but there was no cost for those that nest in trees.
Diet and foraging behaviour of group‐living meerkats, Suricata suricatta, in the southern Kalahari
The timing of foraging activity altered over the months in response to changes in daylength and thermoregulatory constraints, and the implications of an insect prey base for meerkat socioecology are discussed.
Signalling of need by offspring to their parents
An alternative explanation for costly solicitation is presented by showing that the level of offspring solicitation can be a true reflection of offspring need as long as solicitation is costly and the benefits of extra resources increase with need.
The evolution of begging: signaling and sibling competition.
It is suggested that begging may have evolved through direct sibling fighting before the establishment of a parental response, that is, that nonsignaling squabbling leads to signaling.
Costs of cooperative behaviour in suricates (Suricata suricatta)
Here it is provided of one form of cooperative behaviour that is seldom performed by parents and has substantial energetic costs to helpers, in the cooperative mongoose, Suricata suricatta, non–breeding adults commonly babysit young pups at the natal burrow for a day at a time.