A Tale of Tails

The Function of Tail-Flagging Behaviours in Eurasian Red Squirrels

  • Juliana Kaneda MacEwan University

Abstract

Visual signals are a relatively understudied form of communication in mammals yet may represent a significant way in which to communicate with conspecific and predator perceivers. Eurasian red squirrels produce a diversity of acoustic signals as well as several visual signals. One such visual signal is termed tail flagging behaviour. Here, individual squirrels will purposefully move their tails in an s-movement or flagging way. Currently there is no research on this flagging signal, its use or its potential function. We propose to conduct detailed analysis on the use and potential function of this behaviour by exploring through observation and experimentation, when these signals are produced and to whom they are often directed.


Presented in absentia on April 27, 2020 at "Student Research Day" at MacEwan University in Edmonton, Alberta. (Conference cancelled)


Faculty Mentor: Shannon Digweed


Department: Psychology

Published
2020-04-27