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new article on fur seals

Subject: new article on fur seals
From: Isabelle CHARRIER <>
Date: Wed, 10 Apr 2002 08:16:53 -0700
Dear All,
 A new paper has been recently published in the Journal of Experimental Biology 
on the 
 pup?s voice recognition by subantarctic fur seal females (Arctocephalus 
 Charrier, I., Mathevon, N. and Jouventin, P. ?How does a fur seal mother 
recognize the 
 voice of her pup? An experimental study of Arctocephalus tropicalis.? Journal 
 Experimental Biology, 205, 603-612.
 Reprints are now available !
 Isabelle Charrier
 Abstract :
 In the subantarctic fur seal Arctocephalus tropicalis, mothers leave their 
pups during 
 the rearing period to make long and frequent feeding trips to sea. When a 
 returns from the ocean, she has to find her pup among several hundred other. 
 into account both spectral and temporal domains, we investigated the 
individual vocal 
 signature occurring in the 'female attraction call' used by pups to attract 
 mother. We calculated the intra- and inter-individual variability for each 
 acoustic cue to isolate those likely to contain information about individual 
 We then tested these cues in playback experiments. Our results show that a 
female pays 
 particular attention to the lower part of the signal spectrum, the fundamental 
 frequency accompanied by its first two harmonics being sufficient to elicit 
 recognition. The spectral energy distribution is also important for the 
 process. Of the temporal features, frequency modulation appears to be a key 
 for individual recognition, whereas amplitude modulation is not implicated in 
 identification of the pup?s voice by the mother. We discuss these results with 
 to the constraints imposed on fur seals by a colonial way of life.
 Isabelle Charrier, Ph.D student.
 Laboratoire de Biologie Animale
 Université Jean Monnet
 23 rue Michelon
 42023 Saint-Etienne cedex 2

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