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Comparative Study
. 2009 May;123(2):136-50.
doi: 10.1037/a0014280.

The Alarm Call System of Two Species of Black-And-White Colobus Monkeys (Colobus Polykomos and Colobus Guereza)

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Comparative Study

The Alarm Call System of Two Species of Black-And-White Colobus Monkeys (Colobus Polykomos and Colobus Guereza)

Anne Marijke Schel et al. J Comp Psychol. .

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 Taï 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.

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