20 June 2012
Japanese deer 'eavesdrop' on monkeys for food
By Ella Davies
Reporter, BBC Nature
Deer and monkeys live harmoniously on the protected island
Sika deer "eavesdrop" on monkey chatter in order to find food, say scientists.
A team from Kyoto University, Japan, tested how macaque monkey calls affected the feeding behaviour of the deer that live on Yakushima Island.
Previous research has focussed on species "listening to" one another to avoid danger.
But when scientists played macaque calls from hidden speakers, the deer gathered nearby, indicating that they associate the sounds with benefits.
The deer and monkeys do not have any predators on the island
The results were published in the journal Behavioural Processes.
Dr Hiroki Koda who led the study said it was a good example of "possible interspecies communication" and that the deer seemed to be eavesdropping as a "foraging strategy". (...)
Full article: http://www.bbc.co.uk/nature/18442081