Lesser spot-nosed monkeys coordinate alarm call production with associated Campbell’s monkeys

Auriane Le Floch, Alice Bouchard, Quentin Gallot, Klaus Zuberbühler

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2 Citations (Scopus)


Forest monkeys often form semi-permanent mixed-species associations to increase group-size related anti-predator benefits without corresponding increases in resource competition. In this study, we analysed the alarm call system of lesser spot-nosed monkeys, a primate that spends most of its time in mixed-species groups while occupying the lowest and presumably most dangerous part of the forest canopy. In contrast to other primate species, we found no evidence for predator-specific alarm calls. Instead, males gave one general alarm call type (‘kroo’) to three main dangers (i.e., crowned eagles, leopards and falling trees) and a second call type (‘tcha-kow’) as a coordinated response to calls produced in non-predatory contexts (‘boom’) by associated male Campbell’s monkeys. Production of ‘kroo’ calls was also strongly affected by the alarm calling behaviour of male Campbell’s monkeys, suggesting that male lesser spot-nosed monkeys adjust their alarm call production to another species’ vocal behaviour. We discuss different hypotheses for this unusual phenomenon and propose that high predation pressure can lead to reliance on other species vocal behaviour to minimise predation.
Original languageEnglish
Article number112
Number of pages14
JournalBehavioral Ecology and Sociobiology
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 26 Jul 2021


  • Polyspecific association
  • Predation
  • Acoustic analyses
  • Playback experiments
  • Vocal communication
  • Cercopithecus petaurista


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