Ring-tailed lemur vocalizations

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Adult vocalizing

The ring-tailed lemur has a complex array of distinct vocalizations used to maintain group cohesion during foraging and alert group members to the presence of a predator. The tables below detail calls documented in the wild and studied at the Duke Lemur Center.[1]

Adult Affiliative Vocalizations
Call Vocalizers Inferred Function
Moan
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All except infants <14 weeks Promotes group cohesion in low-to-moderate arousal contexts
Early-High Wail
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All except infants <6–8 weeks Promotes group cohesion; indicates moderate-to-high level arousal level of caller
Late-High Wail
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Non-infant females (typically), males (rarely) May promote group cohesion under conditions of extreme arousal
Howl
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Non-infant males Male advertisement call; together with female counter-calling, howls advertise the presence and location of the group
Hmm
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All except infants <5 weeks Indicates that slow group relocation is imminent and promotes group cohesion, or reflects a caller's desire to maintain conspecific contact
Huh
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Infants >3 months (most frequent); male juveniles and adolescents; rarely by adults Similar to hmm, but marks a caller's location more effectively
Purr
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Adult females (most frequent); both sexes of all age classes Appears to express contentment; also may communicate nonaggressive intent of an adult during close contact
Chirp
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All except infants <3 weeks Elicits rapid group movement and may promote group cohesion in this context
Adult Agonistic Vocalizations
Call Vocalizers Inferred Function
Yip
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All non-infants, except alpha females Expresses mild fear and, perhaps, willingness to defer to a dominant
Cackle
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Adults of both sexes A defensive display that may reflect a willingness to become aggressive if pressed
Squeal
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Males, during tail waving only Male "status assertion" vocalization
Twitter
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All except infants <6 months Communicates somewhat fearful but nevertheless assertive demeanor
Plosive Bark
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Both sexes of all ages classes High-intensity threat vocalization
Chutter
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Dominant adults (toward subordinates of all ages) Low-to-moderate threat vocalization; may encourage subordinates to give way to dominants, thereby reaffirming dyadic dominance relationships.
Alerting & Antipredator Vocalizations
Call Vocalizers Inferred Function
Gulp
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All except infants <14 weeks Generalized "group alert" vocalization
Rasp
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All except infants Aerial predator alarm call
Shriek, variant 1
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All except infants May serve to inform a raptor that it has been seen, and/or may discourage pursuit by intimidation, as well as to broadcast widely that a low-flying raptor has been detected
Shriek, variant 2
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All except infants Same as variant 1, except that variant 2 may express the more urgent nature of the aerial predator encounter.
Click
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All except infants <2 weeks The click is a low-arousal "location marker" that draws attention to a caller.
Close-Mouth Click Series (CMCS)
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All except infants <2 months Moderate-arousal "location marker"
Open-Mouth Click Series (OMCS)
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All except infants A "location marker" reserved for a limited number of contexts of very high arousal; also appears to serve as a cue that aids in the synchronization of yaps
Yap
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All except infants Carnivore mobbing call
Infant Affiliative Vocalizations
Call Inferred Function
Infant Contact Call
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Conspecific vocal contact; functions initially to attract the mother and later as a precursor to moans and wails
Infant Trill, variant 1
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Expresses desire for, and contentment from, conspecific contact
Infant Trill, variant 2
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May express contentment and/or crossing the sensory threshold from contentment to discomfort
Infant Distress Vocalizations
Call Inferred Function
Infant Whit, variant 1
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Infant distress call; expresses discomfort and/or distress
Infant Whit, variant 2
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Infant high-intensity distress call
Infant Yelp
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Serves both as an affiliative and distress vocalization in eliciting prompt retrieval by the mother

References[edit]

  1. ^ Macedonia, Joseph M. (1993). "The vocal repertoire of the ringtailed lemur (Lemur catta)". Folia Primatologica. 61: 186–217. doi:10.1159/000156749. PMID 7959437.