Predator Mobbing in Tarsius spectrum Academic Article uri icon


  • Whereas most animals make considerable effort to avoid their predators, numerous species tend to approach and to confront predators as a group: mobbing. Among the types of predators that elicit mobbing, snakes seem to be one of the more consistent recipients of it. I describe the mobbing behavior of spectral tarsiers toward live and model snakes. In particular, I explore individual differences-sex, age and reproductive status-in mobbing behavior at Tangkoko Nature Reserve, Sulawesi, Indonesia. In 1994-1995, I observed 11 groups for 18 mo, and in 1999, I observed 9 groups for 6 mo. Over all I recorded, 11 natural mobbing events and 9 artificially induced mobbing events. The mean number of individuals at a natural mobbing is 5.1 with an average duration of 33 min. The duration of a mobbing event is strongly correlated with the number of mobbers. Adults were more likely than other age classes to participate in mobbings. Males were more likely than females to participate in mobbings. Mobbing groups often contained > 1 adult male despite the fact that no spectral tarsier group contains > 1 adult male. Vis--vis Curio's (1978) 9 hypotheses for the function of mobbing suggests that its primary function in spectral tarsiers may be perception advertisement or teaching snakes to move on. 2005 Springer Science+Business Media, Inc.

published proceedings

  • International Journal of Primatology

author list (cited authors)

  • Gursky, S.

publication date

  • January 1, 2005 11:11 AM