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Vocal repertoire of adult captive red pandas (Ailurus fulgens)

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For more content, see Archives Néerlandaises de Zoologie (Vol 1-17) and Netherlands Journal of Zoology (Vol 18-52).

Vocal signals are a common communication tool used to recognize different individuals, advertise fertile phases or discriminate amongst potential mates. Therefore, a thorough understanding of vocal repertoires forms the basis for investigating the role of acoustic signaling in the sexual and social behavior of any animal. Red pandas (Ailurus fulgens) are classified as a vulnerable species and have declined by as much as 40% over the past 50 years in China. Adult red pandas are known to call frequently during mating and aggressive encounters; however, no quantitative description of their vocalizations has been attempted. Here, the vocal repertoire of captive red pandas was investigated. Acoustical and statistical analyses indicated seven vocalization types during the breeding season: “growl”, “bark”, “squeal”, “bleat”, “hoot”, “grunt” and “twitter”; the spectrogram for each vocalization type was extracted. The type of vocalizations produced varied with behavioral state and implies different functional contexts. Future studies are needed to uncover the functions of red panda vocalizations in individual recognition, sexual selection and social interaction.

Affiliations: 1: 1Giant Panda Conservation and Culture Research Center, China West Normal University, Shida Road 1#, Nanchong 637009, China; 2: 2Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, Panda Road 1375#, Chengdu 610081, China

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