Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: https://hdl.handle.net/1959.11/5051
Title: Chicks prefer to peck at insect-like elongated stimuli moving in a direction orthogonal to their longer axis
Contributor(s): Clara, Elena (author); Regolin, Lucia (author); Vallortigara, Giorgio (author); Rogers, Lesley (author)
Publication Date: 2009
DOI: 10.1007/s10071--009-0235-y
Handle Link: https://hdl.handle.net/1959.11/5051
Abstract: Spontaneous preferences towards possible prey have been little investigated using targets in motion. Preferences of domestic chicks ('Gallus gallus') to peck at video-images of stimuli representing live insects moving along their longer body axis (i.e. "forwards") or along the shorter body axis (i.e. "sideways") were investigated. Chicks presented with both types of stimulus displayed a significant preference for pecking at stimuli moving sideways. This preference was already present on day 1 post-hatching, and it strengthened on day 6 for those chicks that had experienced pecking at live insects. Head angles used to fixate the stimuli prior to pecking were also analysed and were consistent (i.e. 30°–35° and 60°–65°) with those reported for fixation of non-edible targets (larger stimuli at a distance). In a first control experiment the same video-presented stimuli were used but the insect's legs were removed to reduce flickering. In a second control experiment, paper-printed images of the whole insect were used. In both cases, the sideways direction of movement was clearly preferred. Overall, our data show that chicks have a spontaneous preference to peck at video-images resembling live insects moving along their shorter body axis. Sideways movement may constitute a crucial signal attracting chicks' attention and enhancing predatory responses possibly because of stronger stimulation of motion detectors.
Publication Type: Journal Article
Source of Publication: Animal Cognition, 12(6), p. 755-765
Publisher: Springer-Verlag
Place of Publication: Berlin, Germany
ISSN: 1435-9456
1435-9448
Field of Research (FOR): 060801 Animal Behaviour
Peer Reviewed: Yes
HERDC Category Description: C1 Refereed Article in a Scholarly Journal
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