Allometric escape and acoustic signal features facilitate high-frequency communication in an endemic Chinese primate

Publication Type:Journal Article
Year of Publication:2021
Authors:Riondato, Gamba, Tan, Niu, Narins, Yang, Giacoma
Keywords:acoustic adaptation hypothesis, Principle of acoustic allometry, Rhinopithecus brelichi, Snub-nosed monkey, Sound propagation

The principle of acoustic allometry—the larger the animal, the lower its calls' fundamental frequency—is generally observed across terrestrial mammals. Moreover, according to the Acoustic Adaptation Hypothesis, open habitats favor the propagation of high-frequency calls compared to habitats with complex vegetational structures. We carried out playback experiments in which the calls of the Guizhou snub-nosed monkey (Rhinopithecus brelichi) were used as stimuli in sound attenuation and degradation experiments to test the hypothesis that propagation of Guizhou snub-nosed monkey calls is favored above vs through the forest floor vegetation. We found that low-pitched Guizhou snub-nosed monkey vocalizations suffered less attenuation than its high-pitched calls. Guizhou snub-nosed monkeys were observed emitting high-pitched calls from 1.5 to 5.0 m above the ground. The use of high-pitched calls from these heights coupled with the concomitant behavior of moving about above the understory may provide a signal for receivers which maximizes potential transmission and efficacy. Our results support the Acoustic Adaptation Hypothesis and suggest that by uncoupling its vocal output from its size, this monkey can produce a high-pitched call with a broad spectral bandwidth, thereby increasing both its saliency and the frequency range over which the animal may more effectively communicate in its natural habitat.

BioAcoustica ID: 
Scratchpads developed and conceived by (alphabetical): Ed Baker, Katherine Bouton Alice Heaton Dimitris Koureas, Laurence Livermore, Dave Roberts, Simon Rycroft, Ben Scott, Vince Smith