Poster presentation 12th International Mammalogical Congress

Distress calls in wild-living neonate Mongolian gazelles (Procapra gutturosa): Relationship with an open habitat, antipredatory strategy, vocal anatomy and testosterone (#656)

Ilya A Volodin 1 , Elena V Volodina 2 , Roland Frey 3 , Vadim E Kirilyuk 4 , Sergey V Naidenko 5
  1. Faculty of Biology, Lomonosov Moscow State University, Moscow, Russia
  2. Scientific Research Department, Moscow Zoo, Moscow, Russia
  3. Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research, Berlin, Germany
  4. Daursky State Nature Biosphere Reserve, Nizhnii Tsasuchei, Zabaikalskii Krai, Russia
  5. A.N. Severtsov Institute of Ecology and Evolution RAS, Moscow, Russia

In neonate ruminants, the acoustic structure of vocalizations might depend on sex, vocal anatomy, hormonal profiles, body mass and on environmental factors. In neonate Mongolian gazelles Procapra gutturosa, hand-captured in the Daurian steppes at the Russian-Mongolian border, we spectrographically analysed vocalizations and measured body mass of 22 (6 male, 16 female) individuals. For 20 (5 male, 15 female) of these individuals, serum testosterone levels were also analysed. In addition, we measured relevant dimensions of the vocal apparatus (larynx, vocal folds, vocal tract) in one stillborn male Mongolian gazelle specimen. Neonate vocalizations of either sex were high in maximum fundamental frequency (800-900 Hz), but the beginning and minimum fundamental frequencies were significantly lower in males than in females. Body mass was larger in males than in females. The levels of serum testosterone were marginally higher in males and did not correlate with the acoustics or body mass. We discuss that the high-frequency calls of neonate Mongolian gazelles are more typical for closed-habitat neonate ruminants, whereas other open-habitat neonate ruminants (goitred gazelle Gazella subgutturosa, saiga antelope Saiga tatarica and reindeer Rangifer tarandus) neonates produce low-frequency (< 200 Hz) distress calls. The proximate cause for the high fundamental frequency of distress calls of neonate Mongolian gazelles is their very short, atypical vocal folds (4 mm) compared to the 7 mm vocal folds of neonate goitred gazelles, producing distress calls as low as 120 Hz. The study was supported by the Russian Science Foundation, grant 14-14-00237.