Leaping Ahead pp 315-322 | Cite as

A Quantitative Description of the Vocal Types Emitted in the Indri’s Song

  • Viviana Sorrentino
  • Marco Gamba
  • Cristina Giacoma
Part of the Developments in Primatology: Progress and Prospects book series (DIPR)


The indri’s song is composed of a series of roars uttered simultaneously by several members of a group, followed by a long modulated howl. The latter part consists of overlapping or successive notes emitted by different individuals. Previous qualitative studies have described four different kinds of notes. We provide the first quantitative acoustic investigation of the indri’s song repertoire. After visual inspection of fundamental frequency (F0) modulation and duration in 30 songs and 1995 notes emitted by 30 individuals, we distinguished nine different unit types (roar + 8 modulated units). For these nine putative types, we measured six F0-related and three temporal parameters, which were then subjected to multivariate statistical analysis. Both discriminant analyses and cross-validation procedures classified the vocal types correctly with high reliability.


Discriminant Function Analysis Unit Type Discriminant Function Analysis Note Type Vocal Type 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Le chant de l’Indri est composé de séries de rugissements émis simultanément par plusieurs membres d’un groupe, suivi d’un long hurlement modulé. Cette dernière partie est composée de notes émises par différent individus qui se suivent ou se chevauchent. Des études précédentes ont décrit quatre types de notes sur des bases qualitatives. Nous présentons la première analyse acoustique quantitative du répertoire vocale des notes du chant de l’Indri. Après un examen visuel de 30 chants et 1995 notes émis par 30 individus, nous décrivons neuf différents types d’unités (rugissement + 8 unités modulées), en examinant la modulation et la durée de la Fréquence Fondamentale (F0). Pour ces 9 hypothétiques types, nous avons mesuré six paramètres liés à la F0 et six paramètres temporels, analysés à l’aide d’une méthode multi-variée, afin de valider notre hypothèse. L’analyse discriminante et l’analyse par validation croisée ont toutes deux classifié la plupart des vocalisations dans les catégories attendues.



Our research was supported by the Università degli Studi di Torino and by grants from the Parco Natura Viva—Centro Tutela Specie Minacciate. We thank Association Nationale pour la Gestion des Aires Protégées Madagascar, Association Mitsinjo, Dr Cesare Avesani Zavorra, Dr Caterina Spiezio, Fanomezantsoa Andrianirina, and Lanto Rakotoarisoa for their help and support.


  1. Boersma P, Weenink D (2006) Praat: doing phonetics by computer.
  2. Gamba M, Giacoma C (2005) Key issues in the study of primate acoustic signals. J Anthropol Sci 83:61–87Google Scholar
  3. Gamba M, Giacoma C (2007) Quantitative acoustic analysis of the vocal repertoire of the crowned lemur. Ethol Ecol Evol 19:323–343CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Gamba M, Favaro L, Torti V, Sorrentino V, Giacoma C (2011) Vocal tract flexibility and variation in the vocal output in wild indris. Bioacoustics 20:251–266CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Geissmann T, Mutschler T (2006) Diurnal distribution of loud calls in sympatric wild indri (Indri indri) and ruffed lemurs (Varecia variegata): implications for call functions. Primates 47:393–396PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Giacoma C, Sorrentino V, Rabarivola C, Gamba M (2010) Sex differences in the song of Indri indri. Int J Primatol 31:539–551CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 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
  8. Mittermeier RA, Louis EE Jr, Richardson M, Schwitzer C, Langrand O, Rylands AB, Hawkins F, Rajaobelina S, Ratsimbazafy J, Rasoloalison R, Roos C, Kappeller PM, Mackinnon J (2010) Lemurs of Madagascar, 3rd edn. Conservation International, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  9. Petter J-J, Charles-Dominique P (1979) Vocal communication in prosimians. In: Doyle GA, Martin RD (eds) The study of prosimian behavior. Academic, New York, pp 272–282Google Scholar
  10. Petter J-J, Albignac R, Rumpler Y (1977) Faune de Madagascar. Mammifères: Lémuriens, vol 44, pp 391–410Google Scholar
  11. Plichta B (2004) Akustyk.
  12. Pollock JI (1979) Spatial distribution and ranging behaviour in lemurs. In: Doyle GA, Martin RD (eds) The study of prosimian behavior. Academic, New York, pp 359–409Google Scholar
  13. Pollock JI (1986) The song of indris (Indri indri; Primates, Lemuroidea): natural history, form and function. Int J Primatol 7:225–267CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Thalmann U, Geissmann T, Simona A, Mutschler T (1993) The indris of Anjanaharibe-Sud, northeastern Madagascar. Int J Primatol 14:357–381CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Viviana Sorrentino
    • 1
  • Marco Gamba
    • 1
  • Cristina Giacoma
    • 1
  1. 1.Dipartimento di Biologia Animale e dell’UomoUniversità degli Studi di TorinoTorinoItaly

Personalised recommendations