International Journal of Primatology

, Volume 34, Issue 6, pp 1172–1189 | Cite as

Individual Variation of Whinnies Reflects Differences in Membership Between Spider Monkey (Ateles geoffroyi) Communities

  • Claire J. Santorelli
  • Filippo Aureli
  • Gabriel Ramos-Fernández
  • Colleen M. Schaffner


Contact calls, which function to coordinate group movement and maintain contact between conspecifics, are predicted to show high levels of acoustic variability and individual distinctiveness. We investigated interindividual variation in whinnies, a contact call, between two geographically distinct communities of wild Geoffroyi’s spider monkeys (Ateles geoffroyi), which were experiencing different degrees of stability in membership due to immigration. We recorded whinnies from 18 subjects, including 9 females ranging within the Otoch Ma’ax Yetal Kooh Reserve, Punta Laguna, Mexico, and 9 females ranging within the Santa Rosa Sector, Area de Conservación Guanacaste, Costa Rica. We examined 13 acoustic parameters of female whinnies using principal component analysis and discriminant function analysis. Individual acoustic variability was significantly different between the two communities. A higher percentage of the whinnies of females were assigned to the correct caller in the community with only 3 individuals immigrating within 36 mo before and during data collection than in the community with 15 immigrant individuals during the same period. We suggest that the variation in interindividual distinctiveness for each community was influenced by the stability of the vocal environment, which was quantitatively different between communities because of changes in membership.


Community membership Immigration Vocal discrimination Vocal environment 



We thank Elvin Murillo, Roger Blanco, and María Marta Chavarría at Area de Conservación Guanacaste (Santa Rosa) and Nicola Forshaw, Eulogio Canul-Aban, Macedonio Canul-Chan, Juan Canul-Chan, Augusto Canul-Aban, Laura Vick, and staff at Pronatura (Punta Laguna). In addition, we thank Eric Patel and Catherine Crockford for advice on vocalization analysis, and Roger Mundry for advice on the DFA procedure. Research at Santa Rosa and Punta Laguna was supported by The British Academy, the Wenner-Gren Foundation, the Leakey Foundation, and the North of England Zoological Society. C. J. Santorelli was supported by a University of Chester Gladstone bursary and the Santander University Scheme.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Claire J. Santorelli
    • 1
  • Filippo Aureli
    • 2
    • 3
  • Gabriel Ramos-Fernández
    • 4
  • Colleen M. Schaffner
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of ChesterChesterU.K.
  2. 2.Instituto de NeuroetologiaUniversidad VeracruzanaXalapaMexico
  3. 3.Research Centre in Evolutionary Anthropology and Palaeoecology, School of Natural Sciences and PsychologyLiverpool John Moores UniversityLiverpoolU.K.
  4. 4.CIIDIR Unidad OaxacaInstituto Politecnico NacionalOaxacaMexico

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