Squirrel monkey chuck call: Vocal response to playback chucks based on acoustic structure and affiliative relationship with the caller

Joseph Soltis, Deborah Bernhards, Hope Donkin, John D. Newman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Adult female squirrel monkeys (genus Saimiri) that are socially familiar often exchange the chuck vocalization, which differs acoustically across individuals. We used behavioral observations, vocalization playback experiments, and analysis of the acoustic properties of vocalizations to investigate the effect of caller identity and acoustic structure on vocal response to playback chucks in two all-female social groups (n=10 females). Females were most likely to respond with a chuck to the playback chucks of their closely affiliated partners compared to those of nonaffiliated group members. This shows for the first time that the chuck stimulus alone is sufficient to elicit a chuck response from a female's affiliated partner. Additionally, females responded with a chuck mostly to familiar playback chucks from their own group and least to playbacks of silent controls. Unfamiliar playback chucks from the same species and a different squirrel monkey species elicited chuck responses intermediate between familiar chucks and silent controls. Post-hoc discriminant function analyses provide preliminary evidence that females are most likely to respond to unfamiliar chucks when those chucks are close in acoustic structure to familiar chucks from their own social group. These results provide a provisional explanation for error in the squirrel monkey signal processing system, in which unfamiliar chucks never heard before nevertheless elicit a chuck response if they are similar in acoustic structure to familiar group chucks.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)119-130
Number of pages12
JournalAmerican Journal of Primatology
Volume57
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 2002
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Affiliation
  • Communication
  • Saimiri
  • Signal processing
  • Squirrel monkey
  • Vocalization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology

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