The use of Vocalizations of the Sambirano Mouse Lemur (Microcebus sambiranensis) in an Acoustic Survey of Habitat Preference

Dan Hending*, Marc Holderied, Grainne McCabe

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)
455 Downloads (Pure)


Primate vocalizations convey a variety of information to conspecifics. The acoustic traits of these vocalizations are an effective vocal fingerprint to discriminate between sibling species for taxonomic diagnosis. However, the vocal behavior of nocturnal primates has been poorly studied and there are few studies of their vocal repertoires. We compiled a vocal repertoire for the Endangered Sambirano mouse lemur, Microcebus sambiranensis, an unstudied nocturnal primate of northwestern Madagascar, and compared the acoustic properties of one of their call types to those of M. murinus and M. rufus. We recorded vocalizations from radio-collared individuals using handheld recorders over 3 months. We also conducted an acoustic survey to measure the vocal activity of M. sambiranensis in four forest habitat types at the study site. We identified and classified five vocalization types in M. sambiranensis. The vocal repertoires of the three Microcebus species contain very similar call types but have different acoustic properties, with one loud call type, the whistle, having significantly different acoustic properties between species. Our acoustic survey detected more calls of M. sambiranensis in secondary forest, riparian forest, and forest edge habitats, suggesting that individuals may prefer these habitat types over primary forest. Our results suggest interspecific differences in the vocal repertoire of mouse lemurs, and that these differences can be used to investigate habitat preference via acoustic surveys.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-19
Number of pages19
JournalInternational Journal of Primatology
Early online date19 Jul 2017
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 19 Jul 2017


  • Acoustic survey
  • Habitat
  • Microcebus Sambiranensis
  • Mouse lemurs
  • Vocal repertoire
  • Vocalization


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