Sources of variation in the long-distance vocalizations of spotted hyenas Kevin R. Theis 1) , Keron M. Greene , Sarah R. Benson-Amram & Kay E. Holekamp (Department of Zoology, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824-1115, USA) (Accepted: 26 March 2007) Summary It has long been recognized that vocal signals communicate information about the age, sex and affective state of callers. However, the mechanisms by which these types of information are communicated are less well understood. Here we investigated variation in the acoustic properties of the long-distance vocalizations, called ‘whoops’, emitted by free-living spotted hyenas, Crocuta crocuta . Specifically we investigated whether the fundamental frequency, length and rate of whoops provide information about the caller’s age, sex and/or level of arousal. We determined the latter by contrasting whoops emitted spontaneously with whoops emitted during periods of social excitement, when callers typically also exhibited visual sig- nals associated with heightened arousal. We found that the minimum fundamental frequency of a whoop provides reliable information about the caller’s general age and, for adult callers, information about sex as well. The vast majority of adult male whoop bouts were emitted spontaneously, but juveniles and adult females produced many of their bouts
Behaviour – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 2007
Keywords: CROCUTA CROCUTA; AFFERENT SIGNALING; FISSION-FUSION; VOCAL COMMUNICATION; AROUSAL
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