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Time Course of Vocal Modulation During Isolation in Common Marmosets (Callithrix jacchus)

Chieko Yamaguchi, Akihiro Izumi, Katsuki Nakamura

Common marmosets vocalize phee calls as isolation calls, which seem to facilitate their reunion with family groups. To identify multiple acoustic properties with different time courses, we examined acoustic modulations of phees during different social contexts of isolation. Subject marmosets were totally isolated in one condition, were visually isolated and could exchange vocalizations in another condition, and were visually isolated and subsequently totally isolated in a third condition. We recorded 6,035 phees of 10 male–female marmoset pairs and conducted acoustic analysis. The marmosets frequently vocalized phees that were temporally elongated and louder during isolation, with varying time courses of these changes in acoustic parameters. The vocal rates and sound levels of the phees increased as soon as the marmosets saw their pair mates being taken away, and then gradually calmed down. The phee duration was longer in conditions during which there were no vocal responses from their pair mates. Louder vocalizations are conspicuous and seem to be effective for long-distance transmission, whereas shorter call duration during vocal exchanges might avoid possible vocal overlap between mates.

American journal of primatology, 72: 681-688, 2010


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