Advertisement

Journal of Ethology

, Volume 30, Issue 1, pp 191–196 | Cite as

Acoustic cues to caller identity in lemurs: a case study

  • Marco Gamba
  • Camilla Colombo
  • Cristina Giacoma
Short Communication

Abstract

This study investigated the acoustic structure of grunt vocalizations in red-bellied lemurs (Eulemur rubriventer) and its potential for individual discrimination. Acoustic analyses were performed on 1,605 grunts recorded from seven lemurs belonging to two captive groups. From the perspective of sound-filter theory, we described the acoustic structure of grunts, measuring two sets of parameters: fundamental frequency characteristics as larynx-related variables and four formant frequencies as filter-related features. Formants were effective in assigning 80.5% of the vocalizations to the correct emitter against 24.9% scored by the model based on larynx-related variables. We concluded that vocal tract resonances might potentially provide conspecifics with individual cues.

Keywords

Eulemur rubriventer Vocalization Vocal tract resonance Formants Discriminant analysis 

Notes

Acknowledgments

We thank M. Bonelli for help in data collection, and P. Moisson, D. Gomis, and the Staff at Mulhouse Zoo for granting us access to their lemur groups. This research was supported by the Università degli Studi di Torino and the Ministero dell’Istruzione, dell’Università e della Ricerca. We also thank Dr. Cesare Avesani Zaborra and Parco Natura Viva-Centro Tutela Specie Minacciate for continued support. The authors would also like to express their appreciation to three anonymous reviewers for their constructive comments and suggestions on previous versions of this manuscript.

References

  1. Altmann J (1974) Observational study of behavior. Behaviour 49:227–267PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Andrew RJ (1976) Use of formants in the grunts of baboons and other nonhuman primates. Ann N Y Acad Sci 280:673–693PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Ceugniet M, Izumi A (2004) Vocal individual discrimination in Japanese monkeys. Primates 45:119–128PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Charlton BD, Zhihe Z, Snyder RJ (2009) Vocal cues to identity and relatedness in giant pandas (Ailuropoda melanoleuca). J Acoust Soc Am 126:2721–2732PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Dallmann R, Geissmann T (2009) Individual and geographical variability in the songs of wild silvery gibbons (Hylobates moloch) on Java, Indonesia. In: Lappan SM, Whittacker D (eds) The gibbons: new perspectives on small ape socioecology and population biology. Springer, New York, pp 91–110Google Scholar
  6. Fitch WT (1997) Vocal tract length and formant frequency dispersion correlate with body size in rhesus macaques. J Acoust Soc Am 102:1213–1222PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Fitch WT (2000) The phonetic potential of nonhuman vocal tracts: comparative cineradiographic observations of vocalizing animals. Phonetica 57:205–218PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Fitch WT, Hauser MD (1995) Vocal production in nonhuman primates: acoustics, physiology, and functional constraints on ‘honest’ advertisement. Am J Primatol 37:179–190CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Frommolt KH, Goltsman ME, Macdonald DW (2003) Barking foxes, Alopex lagopus: field experiments in individual recognition in a territorial mammal. Anim Behav 65:509–518CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Gamba M, Giacoma C (2005) Key issues in the study of primate acoustic signals. J Anthropol Sci 83:61–87Google Scholar
  11. Gamba M, Giacoma C (2006) Vocal tract modeling in a prosimian primate: the black and white ruffed lemur. Acta Acust 92:749–755Google Scholar
  12. Gamba M, Giacoma C (2007) Quantitative acoustic analysis of the vocal repertoire of the crowned lemur. Ethol Ecol Evol 19:323–343CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Gamba M, Giacoma C (2008) Subspecific divergence in the black lemur’s low-pitched vocalizations. Open Acoust J 1:49–53CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Ghanzanfar AA, Rendall D (2008) The evolution of human vocal production. Curr Biol 18:457–460CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Giacoma C, Sorrentino V, Gamba M (2010) Sex differences in the song of Indri indri. Int J Primatol 31:539–551CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Gosset D, Fornasieri I, Roeder JJ (2003) Acoustic structure and contexts of emission of vocal signals by black lemurs. Evol Commun 4:225–251CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Lachenbruch PA, Mickey MR (1968) Estimation of error rates in discriminant analysis. Technometrics 10:1–11CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Lieberman P, Blumstein SE (1988) Speech physiology, speech perception, and acoustic phonetics. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  19. Macedonia JM, Stanger KF (1994) Phylogeny of the lemuridae revisited: evidence from communication signals. Folia Primatol 63:1–43PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Maretti G, Sorrentino V, Finomana A, Gamba M, Giacoma C (2010) Not just a pretty song: an overview of the vocal repertoire of Indri indri. J Anthropol Sci 88:151–165PubMedGoogle Scholar
  21. Mathevon N, Charrier I, Jouventin P (2003) Potential of individual recognition in acoustic signals: a comparative study of two gulls with different nesting patterns. Cr Acad Sci III-Vie 326:329–337Google Scholar
  22. Mitani JC, Gros-Louis J, Macedonia J (1996) Selection for acoustic individuality within the vocal repertoire of wild chimpanzees. Int J Primatol 17:569–583CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Oda R (2002) Individual distinctiveness of the contact calls of ring-tailed lemur. Folia Primatol 72:132–136CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Owren MJ, Linker CD (1995) Some analysis methods that may be useful to acoustic primatologists. In: Zimmermann E, Newman JD, Jurgens U (eds) Current topics in primate vocal communication. Plenum, New York, pp 1–27Google Scholar
  25. Reby D, McComb K (2003) Anatomical constraints generate honesty: acoustic cues to age and weight in the roars of red deer stags. Anim Behav 65:519–530CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Rendall D, Rodman PS, Emond RE (1996) Vocal recognition of individuals and kin in free-ranging rhesus monkeys. Anim Behav 51:1007–1015CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Rendall D, Kollias S, Ney C, Lloyd P (2005) Pitch (F0) and formant profiles of human vowels and vowel-like baboon grunts: the role of vocalizer body size and voice-acoustic allometry. J Acoust Soc Am 117:944–955PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Richman B (1976) Some vocal distinctive features used by gelada monkeys. J Acoust Soc Am 60:718–724PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Riede T, Titze IR (2008) Vocal fold elasticity of the Rocky Mountain elk (Cervus elaphus nelsoni)—producing high fundamental frequency vocalization with a very long vocal fold. J Exp Biol 211:2144–2154PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Rukstalis M, Fite JE, French JA (2003) Social change affects vocal structure in a callitrichid primate (Callithrix kuhlii). Ethology 109:327–340CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Sayigh LS, Tyack PL, Wells RS, Solow AR, Scott MD, Irvine AB (1998) Individual recognition in wild bottlenose dolphins: a field test using playback experiments. Anim Behav 57:41–50CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Seyfarth RM, Cheney DL (1984) The acoustic features of vervet monkey grunts. J Acoust Soc Am 75:1623–1628PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Slocombe KE, Kaller T, Call J, Zuberbuhler K (2010) Chimpanzees extract social information from agonistic screams. PLoS One 5:e11473. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0011473 PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Smuts B, Cheney D, Seyfarth R, Wrangham R, Struhsaker T (1987) Primate societies. University of Chicago Press, ChicagoGoogle Scholar
  35. Sokal R, Rohlf FJ (1995) Biometry. WH Freeman, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  36. Taylor AM, Reby D (2010) Contribution of the source-filter theory to the study of mammal vocal communication. J Zool 280:221–236CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Titze IR (1994) Principles of voice production. Prentice Hall, Englewood CliffsGoogle Scholar
  38. Vannoni E, McElligott AG (2007) Individual acoustic variation in fallow deer (Dama dama) common and harsh groans: a source-filter theory perspective. Ethology 113:223–234CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Waser PM (1977) Individual recognition, intragroup cohesion and intergroup spacing: evidence from sound playback to forest monkeys. Behaviour 60:28–74CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Japan Ethological Society and Springer 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marco Gamba
    • 1
  • Camilla Colombo
    • 1
  • Cristina Giacoma
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Animal and Human BiologyUniversity of TorinoTurinItaly

Personalised recommendations