During routine surveys of owl distributions on St. Catherines Island, we observed naturalized ring-tailed lemurs displaying antipredator responses to owl auditory cues. In the 32 y since the introduction of ring-tailed lemurs to the island, two successful depredation events by two different owl species have been documented. We investigated the behavioral response of ring-tailed lemurs to determine if they responded consistently to social calls from all three owl species present on St. Catherines Island despite size differences among the owl species that could affect the likelihood of them serving as predators on ring-tailed lemurs. We observed while ring-tailed lemurs responded to all the auditory owl calls, they exhibited more intense, longer and more consistent responses to the two larger owl species – the barred owl and great horned owl – relative to the small Eastern screech owl. These data suggest naturalized species are capable of learning threat-sensitive antipredator behaviors to novel predator communities.
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