Baby monkeys tricked by Amazon cats

Baby monkeys tricked by Amazon cats
The margay, or tree ocelot, is an Amazon cat that
can mimic the sounds of tasty baby monkeys

For the first time, scientists have witnessed "margay mimicking behavior" that fools monkeys:

"Suddenly the breakfast calm was shattered by the distinctive sound of a baby tamarin’s cry a series of short, sharp whistles, like a boiling teapot doing Morse code.

A male tamarin clambered up and down the tree, vainly trying to locate the sound’s source. The calling continued. More monkeys became riled.

And then Dr. Calleia saw, to his astonishment, that the cries weren’t coming from a tamarin pup, but rather from a margay, an ocelotlike cat with large eyes, large paws and a large appetite for monkey meat.

The margay was slinking through some nearby vines, simulating simian sounds nonstop as it headed the tamarins’ way."

Other mimics in nature include:

  • Pupae and larvae of a parasitic butterfly (Maculinea rebeli) that mimics the sounds of the queen, which induces the workers to feed them.
  • Baby German cockroaches that imitate adult female cockroaches to trick adult males into a courtship ritual that allows the babies to eat.
  • Mimic octopuses of Indonesia that can instantly change colors or textures to either hide or threaten predators.
  • Humans that use nonconscious mimicry to foster cooperation with other humans.

Jungle Cat Mimics Monkey to Lure PreyA First, National Geographic>>

Surviving by Disguising: Nature’s Game of Charades, The New York Times>>

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