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Vocal Repertoire of the Mongoose Herpestes Auropunctatus

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Vocalizations of the mongoose II. auropunctatus were found to be composed of twelve categories of calls. Characteristics of each call category were established by means of acoustical analyses of a large sample of vocalizations from a number of animals. The results of these analyses were presented in detail for each category together with brief descriptions of associated behavior. It was concluded that mongoose vocalizations form a unitary system of acoustically distinctive calls that are emitted discretely. It was suggested that this system is one in which the possibilities for discrimination among temporally adjacent calls are optimized. In order to examine this conclusion further, comparisons were made of call spectra, amplitude patterns, and overall amplitude differences. It was found that the spectra of calls that are emitted successively show marked contrast, and that the sharpness of onset and offset patterns is related to the temporal proximity of calls. It was also found that the relative amplitudes of calls that occur within the same behavioral context; either dissonant, consummatory, or agonistic; may contribute to call discriminability. However, there is considerable overlap of the distributions of call amplitudes, and it appears that differences between spectra and amplitude patterns of mongoose calls may contribute more to their discriminability than differences in overall amplitudes. It was suggested that relative amplitudes of calls may reflect levels of behavioral arousal of vocalizing animals.

Affiliations: 1: Departement of Psychology, University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia, U.S.A; 2: Department of Agriculture, Government of the U.S. Virgin Islands, Kingshill, St. Croix, Virgin Islands


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