Individual Variation of Whinnies Reflects Differences in Membership Between Spider Monkey (Ateles geoffroyi) Communities
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.
KeywordsCommunity 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.
- Aureli, F., & Schaffner, C. M. (2008). Social interactions, social relationships and the social system of spider monkeys. In C. J. Campbell (Ed.), Spider monkeys: Behavior, ecology and evolution of the genus Ateles (pp. 236–265). Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
- Aureli, F., Schaffner, C. M., Boesch, C., Beader, S. K., Call, J., Chapman, C .A., et al. (2008). Fission-fusion dynamics: New research frameworks. Current Anthropology, 49, 627–654.Google Scholar
- Brown, C. H., & Gomez, R. (1992). Functional design features in primate vocal signals: The acoustic habitat and sound distortion. In T. Nishida, W. M. McGrew, P. Marler, M. Pickford, & F. B. M. de Waal (Eds.), Topics in primatology (Vol. 1). Tokyo: University of Tokyo Press.Google Scholar
- Ehret, G. (1990). Categorical perception of sound signals: Facts and hypotheses from animal studies. In S. Harnad (Ed.), Categorical perception: The groundwork of cognition (pp. 301–331). Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
- Fischer, J. (2002). Developmental modifications in the vocal behavior of non-human primates. In A. A. Ghazanfar (Ed.), Primate audition: Ethology and neurobiology (pp. 109–125). London: CRC Press.Google Scholar
- Janzen, D. H. (1986). Guanacaste National Park: Tropical, ecological and cultural restoration. Editorial Universidad Estatal a Distancia, Costa Rica/Fundación Parque Nacionales. San Jose, Costa Rica.Google Scholar
- Owren, M. M., Seyfarth, R. M., & Hopp, S. L. (1992). Categorical vocal signalling in nonhuman primates. In H. Papousek & U. Jürgens (Eds.), Nonverbal vocal communication: Comparative and developmental approaches (pp. 102–122). Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
- Ramos-Fernández, G. (2008). Communication in spider monkeys: The function and mechanisms underlying the use of whinny. In C. J. Campbell (Ed.), Spider monkeys: Behavior, ecology and evolution of the genus Ateles (pp. 220–235). Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
- Shimooka, Y., Campbell, C. J., Di Fiore, A., Felton, A. M., Izawa, K., Link, A., et al. (2008). Demography and group composition of Ateles. In C. J. Campbell (Ed.), Spider monkeys: Behavior, Ecology and Evolution of the Genus Ateles (pp. 329–348). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
- Spillman, B., Dunkel, L. P., van Noordwijk, M. A., Amda, R. N. A., Lameira, A. R., Wich, S. A., et al. (2010). Acoustic properties of long calls given by flanged male orang-utans (Pongo pygmaeus wurmbii) reflect both individual identity and context. Ethology, 116, 385–395.Google Scholar
- Tabachnick, B. G., & Fidell, L. S. (2007). Using multivariate statistics (5th ed.). London: Pearson International.Google Scholar
- Wiley, R. H. (1994). Errors, exaggeration, and deception in animal communication. In L. Real (Ed.), Behavioral mechanisms in ecology (pp. 157–189). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar