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Are hand-raised flying foxes (Pteropus conspicillatus) better learners than wild-raised ones in an operant conditioning situation?

By Brigitta Flick, Hugh Spencer and Rick van der Zwan


This study was undertaken to gain some knowledge of Flying-fox (Megachiroptera: Pteropodidae) learning ability, using 10 Spectacled Flying-foxes Pteropus conspicillatus in a freeoperant conditioning paradigm. The subjects were trained to pull levers for a juice reward in the controlled environment of a modified Skinner box. All sessions were monitored and recorded on video. During the course of the experiment a difference was found in the learning behaviour between the three hand-raised and the seven wild-raised subjects. The three hand-raised Flyingfoxes learned the task in the seventh, ninth or fourteenth 10-minute session whereas the wildraised animals did not learn to pull the levers. When returned to the experimental chamber more than three years later two of the hand-reared subjects immediately pulled the levers to receive juice. It showed that these animals remembered the experimental chamber, the location and the reward for pulling the levers

Topics: Pteropus, Flying-fox, behaviour, learning, operant conditioning, enriched environments, Medicine and Health Sciences
Publisher: ePublications@SCU
Year: 2011
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Provided by: ePublications@SCU
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