Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology

, Volume 22, Issue 6, pp 385–392 | Cite as

The social contexts of some very low frequency calls of African elephants

  • Joyce H. Poole
  • Katherine Payne
  • William R. LangbauerJr.
  • Cynthia J. Moss


Several types of low frequency calls made by African elephants, Loxodonta africana, and the contexts in which they occurred are described. These calls had fundamental frequencies ranging from 14–35 Hz and sound pressure levels as high as 103±3dB (re 20 μPa) at 5 m from the source. Very low frequency sounds are subject to very little environmental attenuation, suggesting that sounds at the frequencies and sound pressure levels measured from elephants may be audible to conspecifics several km away. Long-term records on the behavior of elephants and on the contexts of specific call types suggest that elephants make use of infrasound in the spatial coordination of groups and as they search for mates.


Social Context Pressure Level Fundamental Frequency Sound Pressure Sound Pressure Level 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • Joyce H. Poole
    • 1
    • 3
  • Katherine Payne
    • 2
  • William R. LangbauerJr.
    • 2
  • Cynthia J. Moss
    • 3
  1. 1.Biology DepartmentPrinceton UniversityPrincetonUSA
  2. 2.Laboratory of OrnithologyCornell UniversityIthacaUSA
  3. 3.Amboseli Elephant Research ProjectAfrican Wildlife FoundationNairobiKenya

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