Spotted deer or chital (Axis axis), a major prey species in southern India, lives in large groups. To understand the benefits of group living, we carried out observations on chital herds under natural conditions. Individual and group vigilance showed a negative correlation with herd size, whereas the latter had a positive correlation with proportion of vigilant individuals. Furthermore, individual vigilance was negatively correlated with proportion of individuals vigilant and positively correlated with group vigilance. These results are explained in the context of a threephase vigilance system, probably operative in the chital herd, under specified ecological conditions. We surmise that this system allows for adaptation to predation risk and has possibly co-evolved with the optimal hunting strategy of the predator.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||4|
|State||Published - Mar 1 2013|