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Biol Lett. 2012 Apr 23;8(2):189-92. doi: 10.1098/rsbl.2011.0832. Epub 2011 Oct 5.

Scared and less noisy: glucocorticoids are associated with alarm call entropy.

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1
Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of California, Los Angeles, CA 90095, USA. marmots@ucla.edu

Abstract

The nonlinearity and arousal hypothesis predicts that highly aroused mammals will produce nonlinear, noisy vocalizations. We tested this prediction by measuring faecal glucocorticoid metabolites (GCMs) in adult yellow-bellied marmots (Marmota flaviventris), and asking if variation in GCMs was positively correlated with Wiener entropy-a measure of noise. Contrary to our prediction, we found a significant negative relationship: marmots with more faecal GCMs produced calls with less noise than those with lower levels of GCMs. A previous study suggested that glucocorticoids modulate the probability that a marmot will emit a call. This study suggests that, like some other species, calls emitted from highly aroused individuals are less noisy. Glucocorticoids thus play an important, yet underappreciated role, in alarm call production.

PMID:
21976625
PMCID:
PMC3297392
DOI:
10.1098/rsbl.2011.0832
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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