, Volume 21, Issue 5, pp 837-852

Use of Vocal Fingerprinting for Specific Discrimination of Gray (Microcebus murinus) and Rufous Mouse Lemurs (Microcebus rufus)

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Advertisement calls are often important noninvasive tools for discriminating cryptic species and for assessing specific diversity and speciation patterns in nature. We investigated the contribution of these calls to uncover specific diversity in nocturnal Malagasy lemurs. We compared sexual advertisement and predator advertisement calls of two mouse lemur species, western gray and eastern rufous mouse lemurs (Microcebus murinus and M. rufus, respectively) living in two contrasting habitats (dry deciduous vs. rain forest), and analyzed them statistically. Both species emitted several highly variable whistle calls in the context of predator-avoidance. Intrapopulation variation was high and overlapped interspecific variation. Sexual advertisement calls, given in the mating context, displayed a totally distinct, species-specific acoustic structure. Whereas gray mouse lemurs produced rapidly multifrequency modulated, long trill calls, rufous mouse lemurs gave slowly frequency-modulated short chirp calls. Our results suggest specific status for gray and rufous mouse lemurs and indicate the importance of predation and social needs in shaping vocal communication.