Vocalization patterns of lion-tailed macaques

Vocalization patterns of lion-tailed macaques (Macaca silenus)

University of Winnipeg, Winnipeg, Canada, 1993

Teresa Elise MacDonald

Abstract from a research project for the degree of Bachelor of Arts (Honours)

Extensive research has been done on the communicative behaviour of several species of macaques. However, research to date on the communication patterns of lion-tailed macaques (Macaca silenus), either captive or free ranging, is limited. This represents a preliminary study of the vocalization patterns in a captive population of M. silenus.

Three primary vocalizations were recognized: a deep, throaty whine, a bark-like woof, and a grunt call.

The whine vocalization was observed most often, in both males and females of all ages. It appears similar to “clear calls” observed in pig-tailed macaques (M. nemestrina) and Rhesus monkeys (M. mulatta); “coo” calls in Japanese macaques (M. fuscata); and “whistles” in stump-tailed macaques (M. arctoides). It is suggested that they represent a form of contact call, important in maintaining intra-group contact and spatial relationships.

The woof and grunt calls were observed with the highest frequency during periods of agonistic encounters and in response to external stimuli. This supports results previously reported for captive populations of several macaque species.

The following patterns were observed: adult females were more likely to participate in vocalizations than the sole adult male, including agonistic calls; calls occurred with a higher frequency in the peripheral areas of the enclosure; and females initiated vocalization in the presence of external stimuli (e.g. birds) more frequently