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Singing behavior and singing functions of black‐crested gibbons (Nomascus concolor jingdongensis) at Mt. Wuliang, central Yunnan, China

Singing behavior and singing functions of black‐crested gibbons (Nomascus concolor jingdongensis)... We used data on loud duetted and solo songs collected from one habituated polygynous group of black‐crested gibbons (Nomascus concolor jingdongensis) on Mt. Wuliang, Yunnan, to test several hypotheses about the functions of these songs. The major functions proposed for loud gibbon songs include resource defense, mate defense, pairbonding, group cohesion and mate attraction. Duet bouts are generally initiated by adult males, who select the highest trees near to ridges or on steep slopes as singing trees. Such trees facilitate voice transmission and inter‐group communication. Singing trees tended to be located near important food patches and sleeping sites, which supports the resource defense hypothesis. The adult male and two adult females always sang interactively, alternating male phrases with the females' stereotyped great calls, to produce the duets, and females rarely produced great calls if they were more than 30 m from the male. The two females usually produced great calls synchronously during the duet, especially when they were close together. These features support both the mate defense and pairbonding hypotheses. The number of great calls and their degree of synchrony transmit information about spatial relationships and possibly pairbond strength to members to neighboring groups and floating animals. During or after the duet bouts, the adult females and juvenile moved toward to the adult male; and group members maintained a close spatial relationship, which supports the group cohesion hypothesis. Other incidents observed suggest a mate competition role for duets. The adult male always sang when the females started duetting with the subadult male. The subadult male sang solo bouts, but they were not more frequent or longer than bouts initiated by the adult male. Although mate attraction is the likely function of subadult solos, it was not convincingly demonstrated. In conclusion, all hypotheses concerning the function of singing are supported by at least some of the data, and none can be excluded. Am. J. Primatol. 71:539–547, 2009. © 2009 Wiley‐Liss, Inc. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png American Journal of Primatology Wiley

Singing behavior and singing functions of black‐crested gibbons (Nomascus concolor jingdongensis) at Mt. Wuliang, central Yunnan, China

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References (39)

Publisher
Wiley
Copyright
Copyright © 2009 Wiley Subscription Services
ISSN
0275-2565
eISSN
1098-2345
DOI
10.1002/ajp.20686
pmid
19434673
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

We used data on loud duetted and solo songs collected from one habituated polygynous group of black‐crested gibbons (Nomascus concolor jingdongensis) on Mt. Wuliang, Yunnan, to test several hypotheses about the functions of these songs. The major functions proposed for loud gibbon songs include resource defense, mate defense, pairbonding, group cohesion and mate attraction. Duet bouts are generally initiated by adult males, who select the highest trees near to ridges or on steep slopes as singing trees. Such trees facilitate voice transmission and inter‐group communication. Singing trees tended to be located near important food patches and sleeping sites, which supports the resource defense hypothesis. The adult male and two adult females always sang interactively, alternating male phrases with the females' stereotyped great calls, to produce the duets, and females rarely produced great calls if they were more than 30 m from the male. The two females usually produced great calls synchronously during the duet, especially when they were close together. These features support both the mate defense and pairbonding hypotheses. The number of great calls and their degree of synchrony transmit information about spatial relationships and possibly pairbond strength to members to neighboring groups and floating animals. During or after the duet bouts, the adult females and juvenile moved toward to the adult male; and group members maintained a close spatial relationship, which supports the group cohesion hypothesis. Other incidents observed suggest a mate competition role for duets. The adult male always sang when the females started duetting with the subadult male. The subadult male sang solo bouts, but they were not more frequent or longer than bouts initiated by the adult male. Although mate attraction is the likely function of subadult solos, it was not convincingly demonstrated. In conclusion, all hypotheses concerning the function of singing are supported by at least some of the data, and none can be excluded. Am. J. Primatol. 71:539–547, 2009. © 2009 Wiley‐Liss, Inc.

Journal

American Journal of PrimatologyWiley

Published: Jan 1, 2009

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