Principal Investigator: Aliza le Roux

I am a cognitive ecologist based at the University of the Free State’s Qwaqwa campus. With the help of an NRF Thuthuka grant, I started the bat-eared fox research project, chronicled on these pages. However, on a broader level, I am intensely curious about mammalian minds and animal behaviour in general. This is why I’m leading the Mammal Cognition Research Group, in which we are also assessing Samango monkey cognition. In collaboration with the Endangered Wildlife Trust, my students and I are investigating ways to reduce roadkill on South African roads, and I am now spearheading a new project on black-backed jackal cognition in Golden Gate Highlands National Park.

It is not simply wildlife that piques my intellectual curiosity, though. I find teaching to be a very challenging and exciting part of my job. As scholarly teacher, I am experimenting with the Flipped classroom (amongst others), and I work together with international colleagues to give even undergraduate students a taste for real scientific work. I’ve also started a blog for young scientists in South Africa, through the South African Young Academy of Science, and happily contribute occasional posts to The Conversation and a local Teaching and Learning blog.

Keeping my institutional webpage updated is a bit of a challenge… If you are interested in discussing research ideas and future projects with me, feel free to contact me by leaving comments here, or through ResearchGate. I am particularly interested in promoting the study of wild canids in South Africa, so feel free to get in touch if you have ideas in this regard.

Here is my current list of publications:

  1. Jumbam, K.R., Périquet, S., Dalerum, F., & le Roux, A. 2019. Spatial and temporal variation in the use of supplementary food in an obligate termite specialist, the bat-eared fox. African Zoology 54:63-71
  2. Petelle, M., Périquet, S., & le Roux, A. 2019. Tameness does not correlate with the learning of an appetitive association in a wild canid. Current Zoology 65 (1); 61-65.
  3. Le Roux, A. 2018. Trends in behavioural ecology: Putting South African research in a global perspective. South African Journal of Science 114(5-6): 21-26.
  4. Périquet, S., Roxburgh, L., le Roux, A., & Collinson, W. J. 2018. Testing the value of citizen science for roadkill studies: A case study from South Africa. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution 6:
  5. Welch, R., le Roux, A., Petelle, M., & Périquet, S. 2018. The influence of environmental and social factors on high- and low-cost vigilance in bat-eared foxes. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology. 72(2): 29.
  6. Périquet, S., & le Roux. 2018. Seasonal patterns of habitat selection in the myrmecophagous bat-eared fox. African Journal of Ecology 56: 548-554.
  7. le Roux, A., Mukwada, G., & Lombard C. 2018. The Afromontane Research Unit – growing as a hub of transdisciplinary research. Mountain Research and Development 38(1):85-7. (Platform statement)
  8. de Bruin, R., Ganswindt, A., Laver, A., & le Roux, A. 2018. Friendly foxes: the relationship between steroid hormones and social behaviour in a monogamous African canid. Frontiers in Zoology. 306: 110-118.
  9. Nowak, K., Wimberger, K., Hill, R. A., Richards, S. A., & le Roux, A. 2017. Samango monkeys (Cercopithecus albogularis labiatus) manage risk in a seasonal, heterogeneous landscape in Amathole Mountains, South Africa. International Journal of Primatology 38: 194-206.
  10. Welch, R., Périquet, S., Petelle, M., & le Roux, A. 2017. Hunter or hunted? Perceptions of risk and reward in a small mesopredator. Journal of Mammalogy. 98(6): 1531-1537.
  11. Mukwada, G., le Roux, A., Hlalele, D., & Lombard, C. 2016. The Afromontane Research Unit (ARU) in South Africa. Mountain Research and Development 36(3): 384-386. (Platform statement)
  12. De Bruin, R., Ganswindt, A., & le Roux, A. 2016. From killer to carer: Steroid hormones and paternal behaviour. African Zoology 51(4): 173-182.
  13. Benitez, M., Beehner, J., Fischer, J., le Roux, A. & Bergman, T. 2016. Acoustic and temporal variation in gelada loud calls advertise male quality. International Journal of Primatology 37(4): 568–585.
  14. Nowak, K. Richards, S.A., le Roux, A. & Hill, R. A. 2016. Influence of live-capture on risk perceptions of habituated samango monkeys. Journal of Mammalogy 97 (5): 1461-1468.
  15. Jacobs, P.J. & le Roux, A. 2016. First report of a myrmecophageous bat-eared fox (Otocyon megalotis) hunting a hare (Lepus sp.). African Journal of Ecology 54(1): 128-130.
  16. le Roux, A., Botha, H., Dalerum, F. & Ganswindt, A. 2016. Non-invasive measurement of adrenocortical activity in a myrmecophageous mammal, the bat-eared fox. African Zoology 51(1): 47-51.
  17. Nowak, K., R. A. Hill, K. Wimberger, & le Roux. 2016. Risk-taking in samango monkeys in relation to humans at two sites in South Africa. In: Ethnoprimatology: Primate Conservation in the 21st Century (Ed. By M. Waller), pp. 301-314, UK: Springer.
  18. Dalerum, F., le Roux, L. de Vries, J. Kamler, C. Stuart, M. Stuart, B. Wilson, & E. Do Linh San. 2016. A conservation assessment of Otocyon megalotis. In Child MF, Roxburgh L, Do Linh San E, Raimondo D, Davies-Mostert HT, editors. The Red List of Mammals of South Africa, Swaziland and Lesotho. South African National Biodiversity Institute and Endangered Wildlife Trust, South Africa.
  19. le Roux, A., Z. Balmforth, O.A. Mbatyoti, M. Bizani, N.L. Avenant, & E. Do Linh SaN. 2016. A conservation assessment of Cynictis penicillata. In Child MF, Roxburgh L, Do Linh San E, Raimondo D, Davies-Mostert HT, editors. The Red List of Mammals of South Africa, Swaziland and Lesotho. South African National Biodiversity Institute and Endangered Wildlife Trust, South Africa.
  20. le Roux, A. & Breshears, D. 2016. Encouraging the use of novel open source software on a rural South African campus. Journal of Higher Education in Africa. (in press)
  21. le Roux, A. 2016. Inverted engagement: A case study of the flipped classroom on a rural South African campus. Journal for New Generation Science (special edition) 14(1): 51- 62.
  22. Nowak K, le Roux, A., Richards, S.A., Scheijen C., Hill R. 2014. Human observers modulate arboreal monkeys’ perceived landscape of fear. Behavioural Ecology 25:1199–1204.
  23. Manser, M. B., Jansen, D. A. W. A. M., Graw, B., Hollén, L. I., Bousquet, C. A. H., Furrer, R. D. & le Roux, A. Vocal complexity in meerkats and other mongoose species. Advances in the Study of Behavior 46: 281-310 (invited paper).
  24. le Roux, A., R. Beishuizen, W. Brekelmans, A. Ganswindt, M. Paris, F. Dalerum. 2014. Innovative paternal care in the bat-eared fox. Acta Ethologica 17(1): 63-66.
  25. le Roux, A., N. Snyder-Mackler, E. Roberts, J. Beehner, T. Bergman. 2013. Evidence for tactical concealment in a wild primate. Nature Communications 4:1462.
  26. Breshears, D., and le Roux. 2013. Outsider discourse surrounding children’s experiences of familial identity in same-sex-parented families. In: Home affairs: Rethinking lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender families in contemporary South Africa (Ed. by C. L.-D. Beer & J. Marnell), pp. 1-20. Johannesburg: Jacana Media.
  27. Gustison, M., le Roux, and T. Bergman. 2012. Derived vocalisations of geladas (Theropithecus gelada) and the evolution of vocal complexity in primates. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 367: 1847-1859 (invited paper).
  28. le Roux, A., and T. J. Bergman. Indirect rival assessment in a social primate, Theropithecus gelada. Animal Behaviour 83: 249-255.
  29. le Roux, A., C. Beehner, and T. J. Bergman. 2010. Female philopatry and dominance patterns in wild geladas. American Journal of Primatology 71:1-9.
  30. Vos, P. J., K. J. Cloete, le Roux, M. Kidd, and G. P. Jordaan. 2010. A retrospective review of trends and clinical characteristics of methamphetamine-related acute psychiatric admissions in a South African context. African Journal of Psychiatry 13: 390-394.
  31. le Roux, A., M. I. Cherry, and M. B. Manser. 2009. The vocal repertoire in a solitary foraging carnivore, Cynictis penicillata, may reflect facultative sociality. Naturwissenschaften 96:575-584.
  32. le Roux, A., M. I. Cherry, L. Gygax, and M. B. Manser. 2009. Vigilance behaviour and fitness consequences: comparing a solitary foraging and an obligate group-foraging mammal. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology 63:1097-1107.
  33. Vidya, T. N. C., Z. Balmforth, le Roux, and M. I. Cherry. 2009. Genetic structure, relatedness and helping behaviour in the yellow mongoose in a farmland and a natural habitat. Journal of Zoology 278:57-64.
  34. Koen, L., P. Magni, D. J. H. Niehaus, and le Roux. 2008. Antipsychotic prescription patterns in Xhosa patients with schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder: original article. African Journal of Psychiatry 11:287-290.
  35. le Roux, A., M. I. Cherry, and M. B. Manser. 2008a. The audience effect in a facultatively social mammal, the yellow mongoose, Cynictis penicillata. Animal Behaviour 75:943-949.
  36. le Roux, A., M. I. Cherry, and M. B. Manser. 2008b. The effects of population density and sociality on scent marking in the yellow mongoose. Journal of Zoology 275:33-40.
  37. le Roux, A., T. P. Jackson, and M. I. Cherry. 2002. Differences in alarm vocalizations of sympatric populations of the whistling rats, Parotomys brantsii and littledalei (Rodentia : Muridae). Journal of Zoology 257:189-194.
  38. le Roux, A., T. P. Jackson, and M. I. Cherry. 2001a. Does Brants’ whistling rat (Parotomys brantsii) use an urgency-based alarm system in reaction to aerial and terrestrial predators? Behaviour 138:757-773.
  39. le Roux, A., T. P. Jackson, and M. I. Cherry. 2001b. The effect of changing call duration and calling bouts on vigilance in Brants’ whistling rat, Parotomys brantsii. Behaviour 138:1287-1302.