The acoustic structure of primate loud calls can be used as a powerful, inexpensive, and noninvasive tool for intra- and interspecific comparative analyses, reconstruction of phylogeny, and primate surveys. Despite the range of possibilities offered by acoustic analysis, only few studies so far have focused on quantitative descriptions of the acoustic structure of primate loud call repertoires. Here we aimed to assess the vocal repertoire of the solitary Sahamalaza sportive lemur, Lepilemur sahamalazensis, and to investigate potential communication functions. We recorded every sportive lemur vocalization we heard during 1000 h of nocturnal observations of eight collared individuals, as well as opportunistic searches in the Ankarafa Forest, Sahamalaza Peninsula in northwest Madagascar. In addition, we used playback experiments with four call types to clarify call function. We measured both temporal and spectral properties to describe calls quantitatively and used cross-validated discriminant function analysis to validate call types that we identified from a preliminary qualitative inspection of the spectrograms of 107 calls. We identified six distinct loud call types with the possibility of a seventh call type, with six loud call types similar to those of Lepilemur edwardsi and two loud call types similar to those of four other sportive lemur species. The described call types most likely function in mate advertisement, offspring care, and territorial defense. Future studies of loud calling of the Sahamalaza sportive lemur are needed to clarify if certain call types are sex specific and if loud calls could be used for recognition of individuals to enable noninvasive density measurements and species monitoring.
- Call function
- Call type