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Recognition of partially concealed leopards by wild bonnet macaques (Macaca radiata). The role of the spotted coat

Recognition of partially concealed leopards by wild bonnet macaques (Macaca radiata). The role of the spotted coat

Behavioural Processes 68(2): 145-163

Wild bonnet macaques (Macaca radiata) have been shown to recognize models of leopards (Panthera pardus), based on their configuration and spotted yellow coat. This study examined whether bonnet macaques could recognize the spotted and dark melanic morph when partially concealed by vegetation. Seven troops were studied at two sites in southern India, the Mudumalai Wildlife Sanctuary and the Kalakad-Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve. The forequarters and hindquarters of the two leopard morphs were presented from behind thick vegetation to individuals at feeding stations 25 m away. Flight reaction times and frequency of flight were obtained from video for only those individuals who oriented towards the models prior to hearing alarm calls. Bonnet macaques exhibited faster reaction times and greater frequency of flight after looking at the spotted morph's forequarter than after looking at either its spotted hindquarter or the dark morph's forequarter. The hindquarter of the dark morph was ignored completely. Artificial neural network modeling examined the perceptual aspects of leopard face recognition and the role of spots as camouflage. When spots were integrated into the pattern recognition process via network training, these spots contributed to leopard face recognition. When networks were not trained with spots, spots did not act as camouflage by disrupting facial features.

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Accession: 023474088

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 15686825

DOI: 10.1016/j.beproc.2004.12.004

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