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Learning strategies and long-term memory in Asian short-clawed otters (Aonyx cinereus) data

Citation

Saliveros, Alexander et al. (2020), Learning strategies and long-term memory in Asian short-clawed otters (Aonyx cinereus) data, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.sf7m0cg3s

Abstract

Data submitted here, are those used in the writing of our manuscript entitled "Learning strategies and long-term memory in Asian short-clawed otters (Aonyx cinereus)" which has been submitted to Royal Society Open Science for publication. Abstract for that manuscript is below

Social learning, namely learning from information acquired from others or their products, is widespread throughout the animal kingdom. There is growing evidence that animals selectively employ ‘social learning strategies’, which for example, determine when they should copy others instead of learning asocially, and whom they should copy. Furthermore, once animals have acquired new information, it is beneficial for them to commit it to long-term memory, especially when it concerns the discovery of profitable resources. Research into social learning strategies and long-term memory has covered a wide range of taxa. However, otters (subfamily Lutrinae), popular in zoos due to their sociability and playfulness, remained neglected until a recent study provided evidence of social learning in captive smooth-coated otters (Lutrogale perspicillata), but not in Asian short-clawed otters (Aonyx cinereus). We investigated Asian short-clawed otters’ learning strategies and long-term memory performance in a foraging context. We presented novel extractive foraging tasks twice to captive family groups and used network-based diffusion analysis to provide evidence of social learning and long-term memory in this species. A major cause of wild Asian short-clawed otter declines is prey scarcity. Furthering our understanding of how they learn about and remember novel food sources could inform key conservation strategies.

Methods

Please refer to associated manuscript for detailed data collection and analysis proceedures. 

Funding

Dr Neeltje Boogert is funded by a Royal Society Dorothy Hodgkin Research Fellowship*