Mammalian Biology

, Volume 80, Issue 5, pp 395–400 | Cite as

Acoustics of male rutting roars in the endangered population of Mesola red deer Cervus elaphus italicus

  • Matteo Della Libera
  • Daniela PassilongoEmail author
  • David Reby
Original Investigation


Mesola red deer are the only native red deer population remaining in peninsular Italy (Mattioli and Ferretti 2014; Zachos et al. 2014). Their peculiar morphological aspects and genetic makeup have earned them the qualification of Evolutionary Significant Unit (ESU), and the status of subspecies has recently been proposed. Despite this, their behaviour remains poorly documented. Because vocal behaviour, including rutting vocalisations, can provide useful phylogenetic signals (Cap et al. 2008), we present the first description of the main sexually selected male call. We find that roars of Mesola red deer are characterised by a relatively low average fundamental frequency (79 Hz) compared to that of most continental red deer populations, confirming the phenotypic originality of Mesola red deer and strengthening the case for its conservation. We also report that roars contain cues to identity, which could support individual recognition tools for monitoring this endangered population.


Acoustic behaviour Cervus elaphus Mesola red deer Vocal signature Roar 


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Copyright information

© Deutsche Gesellschaft für Säugetierkunde 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Matteo Della Libera
    • 1
  • Daniela Passilongo
    • 2
    Email author
  • David Reby
    • 1
  1. 1.Mammal Vocal Communication and Cognition ResearchSchool of Psychology, University of SussexFalmerUK
  2. 2.Department of Natural and Environmental SciencesUniversity of SassariSassariItaly

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