Click-language punctuated by a chestnut?




Equus ferus caballus photo © Saffron Blaze



The chestnut varies in size and conspicuousness among zebras and wild asses; even within a single species, this dark patch is conspicuous in the extinct quagga and Burchell’s zebra, inconspicuous in the maneless and Crawshay’s zebras, and intermediate in Chapman’s and Grant’s zebras. Although this has never been studied, the chestnut may accentuate limb motion to facilitate mutual monitoring by group members in dim light, something that can potentially also be achieved by means of infrasonic clicking of the joints. If so, those species and subspecies lacking a conspicuous chestnut may rely more on audial signalling than the accompanying visual signalling.


Robin and the Honey Badger, 22 March 2016


Links to the images that inspired this bio-insight: