M.V.Lomonosov Moscow State University

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Department of Vertebrate Zoology

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Isaeva I.V., Volodin I.A., Volodina E.V., 2000. Vocalization reflects type of social encounter in the dhole Cuon alpinus // Advances in Ethology, Contributions to the 3rd International Symposium on Physiology and Ethology of Wild and Zoo Animals. Berlin. V. 35, p. 41.


The dhole is a rare endangered species with a restricted distribution area. The behaviour of the species is poorly known. An extremely high vocal activity both in the wild and in captivity represents one of the most prominent behavioural features of the dholes. Vocalizations represent a good indicator of emotions, motivations, intentions, social relations an physiological states, and may serve as a convenient tool for monitoring different aspects of the species life with conservational and research purposes. Now a library of dhole vocalizations are preparing by some specialists working with zoo and wild animals.

We have been registered the vocal behaviour of dholes using the simultaneous audio-and videotyping throughout a period from March 1998 to January 1999 in Moscow Zoo (Russia). Three pairs and one trio of captive adult dholes, separated by a net from each other, were studied concerning the probability of producing of a certain of 11 different call types in six situations. The probability of occurrence of a certain sound type was counted for the data pool of 943 sounds.

It was found that both tonal sounds of 70-500 ms duration with fundamental frequency under 1 kHz and high-pitched whistles of 6-9 kHz pitch occurred significantly more often spontaneously, during pacing, or during peaceful intrapair interactions. The tonal sounds with a fundamental frequency over the 1 kHz occurred significantly more often in more expressive situations, such as sexual interactions and aggressive intrapair interactions where a caller was a recipient of the aggressive demonstrations. The broadband pulsed staccatto calls and tonal calls of duration under 70 and over 500 ms with a fundamental frequency under 1 kHz occurred significantly more often during interpair aggression between neighboring pairs, separated by the net. The data suggest that most of the dhole sound types may serve as situative indicators. The results may be applied for observational tasks in the wild and for the behavioural monitoring in captivity.

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