Stotting in Thomson's gazelles: an honest signal of condition

Summary

The incidence and context of stotting were studied in Thomson's gazelles. Results suggested that gazelles were far more likely to stot in response to coursing predators, such as wild dogs, than they were to stalking predators, such as cheetahs. During hunts, gazelles that wild dogs selected stotted at lower rates than those they did not select. In addition, those which were chased, but which outran the predators, were more likely to stot, and stotted for longer durations, than those which were chased and killed. In response to wild dogs, gazelles in the dry season, which were probably in poor condition, were less likely to stot, and stotted at lower rates, than those in the wet season. We suggest that stotting could be an honest signal of a gazelle's ability to outrun predators, which coursers take into account when selecting prey.

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FitzGibbon, C.D., Fanshawe, J.H. Stotting in Thomson's gazelles: an honest signal of condition. Behav Ecol Sociobiol 23, 69–74 (1988). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00299889

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Keywords

  • Hunt
  • Poor Condition
  • Honest Signal