Navigation Links
Social or stinky? New study reveals how animal defenses evolve
Date:2/7/2014

When people see a skunk, the reaction usually is "Eww," but when they see a group of meerkats peering around, they often think "Aww."

Why some animals use noxious scents while others live in social groups to defend themselves against predators is the question that biologists Tim Caro of the University of California, Davis and Theodore Stankowich of California State University, Long Beach and sought to answer through a comprehensive analysis of predator-prey interactions among carnivorous mammals and birds of prey.

Their findings appear in the online edition of the journal Evolution.

"The idea is that we're trying to explain why certain antipredator traits evolved in some species but not others," said Stankowich, who noted that this study not only explains why skunks are stinky and why banded mongooses live in groups but also breaks new ground in the methodology of estimating predation risks.

Caro, Stankowich and Paul Haverkamp, a geographer who recently completed his Ph.D. at UC Davis, collected data on 181 species of carnivores, a group in which many species are small and under threat from other animals. They ran a comparison of every possible predator-prey combination, correcting for a variety of natural history factors, to create a potential risk value that estimates the strength of natural selection due to predation from birds and other mammals.

They found that noxious spraying was favored by animals that were nocturnal and mostly at risk from other animals, while sociality was favored by animals that were active during the day and potentially vulnerable to birds of prey.

"Spraying is a good close-range defense in case you get surprised by a predator, so at night when you can't detect things far away, you might be more likely to stumble upon a predator," Stankowich said.

Conversely, small carnivores like mongooses and meerkats usually are active during the day which puts them at risk from birds of prey. Living in a large social group means "more eyes on the sky" in daytime, when threats can be detected further away.

The social animals also use other defenses such as calling out a warning to other members of their group or even mobbing together to bite and scratch an intruder to drive it away.

The project was a major information technology undertaking involving plotting the geographic range overlap of hundreds of mammal and bird species, but will have long-term benefits for ongoing studies. The researchers plan to make their database, nicknamed the "Geography of Fear," available to other researchers.


'/>"/>

Contact: Andy Fell
ahfell@ucdavis.edu
530-752-4533
University of California - Davis
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. Scientists find that neurological changes can happen due to social status
2. NineSigma Launches NineSights, the Worlds First Open Innovation Social Media Destination for Innovation Seekers and Solution Providers
3. Social bats pay a price with new fungal disease
4. Helping family is key for social birds
5. First Indian-European research networking projects in the social sciences launched
6. Compounds shown to thwart stubborn pathogens social propensity
7. Reciprocity an important component of prosocial behavior
8. New research suggests bacteria are social microorganisms
9. Academia should fulfill social contract by supporting bioscience startups, case study says
10. Hermit crabs socialize to evict their neighbors
11. Social factors trump genetic forces in forging friendships, CU-led study finds
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Social or stinky? New study reveals how animal defenses evolve
(Date:5/9/2016)... , UAE, May 9, 2016 ... when it comes to expanding freedom for high net ... Even in today,s globally connected world, there is ... conferencing system could ever duplicate sealing your deal with ... obtaining second passports by taking advantage of citizenship via ...
(Date:4/26/2016)... BANGALORE, India and LONDON ... Infosys Finacle, part of EdgeVerve Systems, a ... ), and Onegini today announced a partnership to ... banking solutions.      (Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20151104/283829LOGO ... banks to provide their customers enhanced security to ...
(Date:4/15/2016)... April 15, 2016 Research ... Gait Biometrics Market 2016-2020,"  report to their offering.  ... ) , ,The global gait biometrics market is ... during the period 2016-2020. Gait analysis ... can be used to compute factors that are ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:5/27/2016)... ... May 27, 2016 , ... Doctors in Italy, Japan, the UK and the ... associated protein (BAP1) gene and its link to malignant mesothelioma. Surviving Mesothelioma has just ... the full article now. , The studies analyzed for the new report included ...
(Date:5/27/2016)... , May 27, 2016 At present, ... playing in this space know that volatility is what makes ... companies on ActiveWallSt.com: Synta Pharmaceuticals Corp. (NASDAQ: SNTA ... Inc. (NASDAQ: LPTN ), and Heat Biologics Inc. ... access to the technical alerts for these stocks at: ...
(Date:5/26/2016)... Jersey and READING, England ... Indegene ( http://www.indegene.com ), a leading global ... life science, pharmaceutical and healthcare organisations and TranScrip ... innovative scientific support throughout the product lifecycle, today ... the launch of IntraScience.      (Logo: ...
(Date:5/26/2016)... , May 26, 2016 Despite the ... value in this space. Today,s pre-market research on ActiveWallSt.com directs ... Health Inc. (NASDAQ: RDUS ), Cerus Corp. (NASDAQ: ... ARWR ), and Five Prime Therapeutics Inc. (NASDAQ: ... briefings at: http://www.activewallst.com/ On ...
Breaking Biology Technology: