1 Tahrcountry Musings: Vocal Mimicry at its Best

Friday, July 09, 2010

Vocal Mimicry at its Best

Researchers from the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and UFAM (Federal University of Amazonas) have documented the first recorded instance of a wild cat species in the Americas mimicking the calls of its prey.
The researchers were observing Pied Tamarins feeding in a ficus tree.  To their utter fascination they observed a Margay emitting calls similar to those made by tamarin babies.
The Tamarin "sentinel, climbed down from the tree to investigate the sounds coming from a tangle of lianas.  At that moment, a margay emerged from the foliage and moved surreptitiously towards the monkeys.  The sentinel realized the ruse and screamed in alarm. This sent the other tamarins fleeing for cover.
According to researchers this vocal manipulation of prey species indicates a psychological cunning which merits further study.
Details of the research appear in the June issue of Neotropical Primates.

No comments: