Dialects in the alarm calls of prairie dogs

C. N. Slobodchikoff, Richard J Coast

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

28 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

1. The alarm calls of the Gunnison's prairie dog, Cynomys gunnisoni zuniensis, have differentiated into local dialects. 2. Call characteristics show that, within a given dialect, the number of syllables, the length of the syllables, and the interval length between syllables are weakly correlated with one another. The number of syllables, however, is strongly correlated with the total length of the call. 3. Both the number of syllables and the total call length are strongly correlated with the complexity of the habitat: the more complex the habitat in terms of vegetation cover, rocks, and tree stumps, the more syllables there are and the longer is the call. This may be related to predation pressure, with prairie dogs in more complex habitats calling longer to warn their kin when a predator approaches.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)49-53
Number of pages5
JournalBehavioral Ecology and Sociobiology
Volume7
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - May 1980

Fingerprint

Cynomys
Sciuridae
prairie
Ecosystem
habitat
tree stump
habitats
vegetation cover
stumps
predation
predator
Pressure
rocks
predators
rock
dog
alarm
antipredatory behavior

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Behavioral Neuroscience
  • Ecology
  • Animal Science and Zoology

Cite this

Dialects in the alarm calls of prairie dogs. / Slobodchikoff, C. N.; Coast, Richard J.

In: Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, Vol. 7, No. 1, 05.1980, p. 49-53.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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