Vigilance behaviour and fitness consequences: comparing a solitary foraging and an obligate group-foraging mammal

  title={Vigilance behaviour and fitness consequences: comparing a solitary foraging and an obligate group-foraging mammal},
  author={Aliza le Roux and Michael I. Cherry and Lorenz Gygax and Marta B. Manser},
  journal={Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology},
Vigilance behaviour in gregarious species has been studied extensively, especially the relationship between individual vigilance and group size, which is often negative. Relatively little is known about the effect of conspecifics on vigilance in non-obligate social species or the influence of sociality itself on antipredator tactics. We investigated predator avoidance behaviour in the yellow mongoose, Cynictis penicillata, a group-living solitary forager, and compared it with a sympatric group… 

How do herbivorous mammals adjust their trade-off between food and safety ?

Prey species foraging under a risk of predation have to trade between food acquisition and safety from predation in order to increase their fitness. This trade-off is commonly investigated by

A test of non‐kin social foraging in the southern flying squirrel (Glaucomys volans)

It is suggested that squirrels forage and cache alone in their summer home range and make solitary returns to this summer range to collect their cache during the winter months, despite exhibiting social winter nesting.

Responses to the Foraging/Predation Risk Trade-Off and Individual Variability in Population-Level Fitness Correlates

It is found that variability in individual condition index (CI) was higher when intraspecific and interspecific competition increased and did not increase in the face of predation risk.

The influence of environmental and social factors on high- and low-cost vigilance in bat-eared foxes

It is demonstrated that in an area with minimal predation pressure low-cost vigilance is more intensively used and that despite the absence of predator sightings, ambush predators may still pose a perceived threat to foxes.

Social calls influence the foraging behavior in wild big-footed myotis

Results support the food defence hypothesis, suggesting that foraging bats employ social calls to engage in intraspecific food competition, and add to the current knowledge of the function of social calls in echolocating bats.

Vigilance Efficiency and Behaviour of Bohor Reedbuck Redunca redunca (Pallas 1767) in a Savanna Environment of Pendjari Biosphere Reserve (Northern Benin)

The herd size effect hypothesis only in sympatric grouping system is supported, however, further study is needed to investigate the possible sex-specific functions and targets of vigilance behaviour with respect to the herd direction in the field.

Eating Smart: Free-ranging dogs follow an optimal foraging strategy while scavenging in groups

Foraging and acquiring of food is a delicate balance between managing the costs (both energy and social) and individual preferences. Previous research on the solitary foraging of free-ranging dogs

Behavioral responses of the European mink in the face of different threats: conspecific competitors, predators, and anthropic disturbances

It is highlighted that European mink showed an innate response favorable to all three types of threats, but attention should be focused on human disturbances—as they trigger the most extreme responses—which may affect the rate of survival of this threatened species.




  • M. Elgar
  • Environmental Science
    Biological reviews of the Cambridge Philosophical Society
  • 1989
Most of the studies fail to adequately demonstrate an unambiguous relationship between vigilance behaviour and group size, but many studies reveal interesting features of the relationship between Vigilance and Group size that should provide fruitful avenues for future research.

Diet and foraging group size in the yellow mongoose: a comparison with the suricate and the bat-eared fox

It is argued that phylogenetic inertia, i.e. the inability to better utilize the availability of abundant, clumped prey – such as harvester termites – by resorting to group foraging, can explain the small foraging group size of yellow mongooses.

Flocking is an effective anti-predation strategy in redshanks, Tringa totanus

. Anti-predator behaviour in overwintering redshanks on an estuary in south-east Scotland was studied in the context of a very high mortality rate due almost entirely to predation by raptors. Attacks

Intra- and interspecific variation in vigilance and foraging of two gerbillid rodents, Rhombomys opimus andPsammomys obesus : the effect of social environment

Differences in time budgets between heterospecific females of the same social status (solitary or paired) were less pronounced than differences between conspecifics of different status, suggesting variation in activity patterns of females can be largely explained by different social conditions rather than by species affiliation.

The audience effect in a facultatively social mammal, the yellow mongoose, Cynictis penicillata

What limits predator detection in blue tits (Parus caeruleus): posture, task or orientation?

It is shown that when studying foraging and vigilance one must include the difficulty of the foraging task and prey orientation, and time to take-off was affected by foragingtask in the same way as detection was.

Vigilance as a benefit of intermittent locomotion in small mammals

It is concluded that one function of pausing in squirrels is to improve anti-predator vigilance, and studies are needed to examine whether the risk of attacks by conspecifics and predators is higher for chipmunks approaching than leaving food patches in forest habitat.

Theory and method in studies of vigilance and aggregation

  • A. Treves
  • Psychology, Biology
    Animal Behaviour
  • 2000
The relationship of vigilance to aggregation is not straightforward and the absence of a group-size effect on vigilance among primates is probably due to functional differences in vigilance behaviour or safety in groups, not to methodological differences.

The function of mobbing in cooperative meerkats

Hunting behaviour of a sympatric felid and canid in relation to vegetative cover