Intrahierarchical vocal communication of male domestic guinea pigs

Male guinea pig vocalizations emitted in response to conspecific aggression were tape recorded. This was done by using an experimental method through which vocalizations of a starved individual could be recorded as it protected a single piece of food from the remainder of a four member hierarchy. In order to quantify results “silent,” vocal units (A-type, B-type, squeal, shriek, and E-type) and behavioural categories (undisturbed, approached, and harassed) were defined using non-overlapping characteristics. The vocal responses were graded in unit type and in physical properties (maximum frequency and duration) as conspecific aggression increased. These graded responses were utilized differently by individuals of different hierarchical status. Positionally related vocal differences were explained in terms of positionally related ambivalences during the food defense period.

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