Vocal repertoire of the social giant otter Public Deposited

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  • According to the “social intelligence hypothesis,” species with complex social interactions have more sophisticated communication systems. Giant otters (Pteronura brasiliensis) live in groups with complex social interactions. It is likely that the vocal communication of giant otters is more sophisticated than previous studies suggest. The objectives of the current study were to describe the airborne vocal repertoire of giant otters in the Pantanal area of Brazil, to analyze call types within different behavioral contexts, and to correlate vocal complexity with level of sociability of mustelids to verify whether or not the result supports the social intelligence hypothesis. The behavior of nine giant otters groups was observed. Vocalizations recorded were acoustically and statistically analyzed to describe the species’ repertoire. The repertoire was comprised by 15 sound types emitted in different behavioral contexts. The main behavioral contexts of each sound type were significantly associated with the acoustic variable ordination of different sound types. A strong correlation between vocal complexity and sociability was found for different species, suggesting that the communication systems observed in the family mustelidae support the social intelligence hypothesis.
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  • Leuchtenberger, C., Sousa-Lima, R., Duplaix, N., Magnusson, W. E., & Mourão, G. (2014). Vocal repertoire of the social giant otter. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 136(5), 2861-2875. doi:10.1121/1.4896518
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  • 136
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  • 5
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  • We thank CNPq (Grant No. 476939/2008-9), the RuffordSmall Grants Foundation (Grant No. 88.08.09), the Mohamedbin Zayed Species Conservation Fund (project no. 10051040),and IDEA Wild for their financial support. C.L. was the recipient of a CNPq scholarship.
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