A Tale of Tails: The description and potential function of tail-flagging behaviours in Eurasian red squirrels (Sciurus vulgaris)


  • Juliana Kaneda MacEwan University


Not only do animals communicate with one another, but they also demonstrate the use of mixed communication strategies. One such strategy, multimodal communication, involves multiple sensory signals used together to communicate messages. For example, an animal may use visual signals, auditory signals, or a combination of both, to communicate. Although multimodal communication has been observed in many animal species, there is still a surprising lack of data. Many studies focus on either a single aspect of the multimodal signal or on the joint signal alone. However, information about multimodal signals, as well as each component unimodal signal, are needed in order to understand and categorize the purpose of joint messaging. Our study aims to address this gap in the literature by investigating multimodal communication in Eurasian red squirrels. Since Eurasian red squirrels use visual and acoustic vocal signals in both joint and independent contexts, they provide an excellent opportunity to study the specific circumstances in which multimodal communication occurs. Additionally, because there is minimal research on Eurasian red squirrels, this study will provide preliminary investigations into how this endangered species communicates and navigates the world around it.

Department: Psychology

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Shannon Digweed