The contexts and sound of the squeaking vocalization of wolves (Canis lupus)

Weir, Jacqueline N. (1999) The contexts and sound of the squeaking vocalization of wolves (Canis lupus). Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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Little is known about squeaking, the most frequent close-range vocalization of wolves. This study was designed to determine diurnal patterns, frequency of occurrence, and range of social contexts of squeaking and to assess the individual and contextual variation in the squeaking vocalization. Squeaking events were identified from the 1995-1997 videotapes of the social behavior of captive wolves at the Canadian Center for Wolf Research (Shubenacadie, Nova Scotia); additional data were obtained from seven 24-hr watches. Wolves squeaked most frequently during dawn and dusk hours, corresponding to the times when they were most often visible in the clearing. Wolves squeaked in seven social contexts, but most frequently when approaching or orienting toward other wolves in prosocial and food contexts. Some individuals squeaked more often than others and in more social contexts, but there was no significant sex or social status difference. Acoustic analysis of squeaking vocalizations revealed that wolves have signature squeaks that vary in form as the context changes. Although a number of acoustic variables were measured at each level of the squeaking vocalization (squeak, phrase, vocalization), a combination of squeak frequency variables was most useful for distinguishing among individuals and among social contexts. The diversity and complexity of this vocalization suggest that it may play an important role in controlling and coordinating social interactions within the pack.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Item ID: 9649
Additional Information: Includes bibliographical references.
Department(s): Science, Faculty of > Cognitive and Behavioural Ecology
Date: 1999
Date Type: Submission
Geographic Location: Canada--Nova Scotia
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Animal communication; Wolves--Vocalization--Nova Scotia

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