The alarm call system of King colobus monkeys

AM Schel, S Tranquilli, Klaus Zuberbuhler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

52 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Vervet monkey alarm calling has long been the paradigmatic example of how primates use vocalizations in response to predators. In vervets, there is a close and direct relationship between the production of distinct alarm vocalizations and the presence of distinct predator types. Recent fieldwork has however revealed the use of several additional alarm calling systems in primates. Here, the authors describe playback studies on the alarm call system of two colobine species, the King colobus (Colobus polykomos) of Tai Forest, Ivory Coast, and the Guereza colobus (C. guereza) of Budongo Forest, Uganda. Both species produce two basic alarm call types, snorts and acoustically variable roaring phrases, when confronted with leopards or crowned eagles. Neither call type is given exclusively to one predator, but the authors found strong regularities in call sequencing. Leopards typically elicited sequences consisting of a snort followed by few phrases, while eagles typically elicited sequences with no snorts and many phrases. The authors discuss how these call sequences have the potential to encode information at different levels, such as predator type, response-urgency, or the caller's imminent behavior.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)136-150
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Comparative Psychology
Volume123
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 2009

Keywords

  • Colobus polykomos
  • Colobus guereza
  • alarm calls
  • predation
  • referential signaling
  • TAI-NATIONAL-PARK
  • CALIFORNIA GROUND-SQUIRRELS
  • ANTIPREDATOR BEHAVIOR
  • PLAYBACK EXPERIMENTS
  • CAPUCHIN MONKEYS
  • FACED CAPUCHIN
  • PRAIRIE DOGS
  • IVORY-COAST
  • PREDATOR
  • PRIMATE

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