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Data from: Naive juveniles are more likely to become breeders after witnessing predator mobbing


Griesser, Michael; Suzuki, Toshitaka N. (2016), Data from: Naive juveniles are more likely to become breeders after witnessing predator mobbing, Dryad, Dataset,


Responding appropriately during the first predatory attack in life is often critical for survival. In many social species, naive juveniles acquire this skill from conspecifics, but its fitness consequences remain virtually unknown. Here we experimentally demonstrate how naive juvenile Siberian jays (Perisoreus infaustus) derive a long-term fitness benefit from witnessing knowledgeable adults mobbing their principal predator, the goshawk (Accipiter gentilis). Siberian jays live in family groups of two to six individuals that also can include unrelated nonbreeders. Field observations showed that Siberian jays encounter predators only rarely, and, indeed, naive juveniles do not respond to predator models when on their own but do when observing other individuals mobbing them. Predator exposure experiments demonstrated that naive juveniles had a substantially higher first-winter survival after observing knowledgeable group members mobbing a goshawk model, increasing their likelihood of acquiring a breeding position later in life. Previous research showed that naive individuals may learn from others how to respond to predators, care for offspring, or choose mates, generally assuming that social learning has long-term fitness consequences without empirical evidence. Our results demonstrate a long-term fitness benefit of vertical social learning for naive individuals in the wild, emphasizing its evolutionary importance in animals, including humans.

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