Problem-solving of the cylinder, tile and lever tasks by wild animals in Dryandra National Park, Western Australia

Rowell, Misha K., and Harrison, Natasha (2023) Problem-solving of the cylinder, tile and lever tasks by wild animals in Dryandra National Park, Western Australia. Austral Ecology, 48 (8). pp. 2030-2040.

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Abstract

Problem-solving is an important ability that allows animals to overcome environmental challenges. As such, it is a useful measure of behavioural flexibility and could be beneficial for conservation work. However, there is currently little known about the solving abilities of many Australian species, despite the high threat of environmental degradation and loss that they face. We therefore measured the problem-solving abilities of native Australian species living in the Dryandra National Park, Western Australia using food-baited puzzles (cylinder task, tile task and lever task) placed in front of camera traps. We recorded 12 species on cameras, with 10 species interacting with at least one puzzle. Of these species, woylies and koomal solved all tasks across multiple sites and using multiple behaviours, suggesting that they may be capable of adapting to novel conditions or environments. We also recorded a chuditch solving the tile task at one site. Regardless of species and puzzle type, animals had a higher chance of solving puzzles with increasing interactions. Our results document the first occurrence of problem-solving in woylies and chuditch, and highlight the potential for problem-solving measures to be incorporated into conservation management.

Item ID: 80887
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1442-9993
Keywords: behavioural flexibility, brush-tailed bettong Bettongia penicillata ogilbyi, cognition, common brushtail possums Trichosurus vulpecula, innovation, western quoll Dasyurus geoffroii
Copyright Information: © 2023 The Authors. Austral Ecology published by John Wiley & Sons Australia, Ltd on behalf of Ecological Society of Australia. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs License, which permits use and distribution in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, the use is non-commercial and no modifications or adaptations are made.
Date Deposited: 13 Feb 2024 22:18
FoR Codes: 31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3109 Zoology > 310901 Animal behaviour @ 40%
31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3109 Zoology > 310906 Animal neurobiology @ 40%
31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3109 Zoology > 310914 Vertebrate biology @ 20%
SEO Codes: 28 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 2801 Expanding knowledge > 280102 Expanding knowledge in the biological sciences @ 100%
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