The alarm call system of female Campbell's monkeys

K Ouattara, Klaus Zuberbuhler, EK N'Goran, JE Gombert, A Lemasson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Field studies on male forest guenon alarm-calling behaviour have revealed a number of intricacies about how these primates use vocalizations to protect themselves from predation. In these species, the vocal behaviour of adult females is often different from that of the males, but little systematic work has been done. Here, we describe the alarm call system of female Campbell's monkeys, Cercopithecus campbelli, in their natural forest habitat in western Ivory Coast. We found that in response to disturbing events, females produced three basic alarm call types, 'wak-oos', 'hoks' and acoustically variable 'trill' calls, consisting of repeated and rapidly ascending (RRA) pulses, which varied systematically in the temporal and frequency domains. Using observational and experimental data we were able to demonstrate that the RRA calls consisted of four acoustic variants, which could be associated with specific contexts, allowing listeners to draw inferences about the type of disturbance experienced by the caller. We also compared the alarm call behaviour of free-ranging individuals with published results from captivity. As predicted, captive individuals failed to produce predator-specific alarm calls, but they also produced an RRA variant in response to humans that was absent in the wild. We discuss the relevance of these findings in terms of their broader potential impact on evolutionary theories of primate communication. (C) 2009 The Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)35-44
Number of pages10
JournalAnimal Behaviour
Volume78
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2009

Keywords

  • alarm call
  • Campbell's monkey
  • Cercopithecus campbelli
  • evolution of language
  • predation
  • referential
  • semantic
  • CERCOPITHECUS-CAMPBELLI
  • NONHUMAN PRIMATE
  • SEMANTIC COMMUNICATION
  • DIANA MONKEYS
  • PREDATOR
  • VOCALIZATIONS
  • COMBINATIONS
  • HORNBILLS
  • RESPONSES
  • BEHAVIOR

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