Nav: Home

Meerkat call patterns are linked to sex, social status and reproductive season

May 03, 2017

Within a group of meerkats, call patterns vary with factors including sex, rank and reproductive season -- but not with stress hormones, according to a study published May 3, 2017 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Jelena Mausbach from University of Zurich, Switzerland; Marta Manser from University of Pretoria, South Africa; and colleagues.

Meerkats live in family groups with social hierarchies, emitting contact calls that help maintain group cohesion during foraging. These calls are distinctive and have variable rates across individuals, but the influences on this behavior are unknown. To identify factors linked to call patterns, Mausbach, Manser and colleagues analyzed sound recordings and measured fecal stress hormones of 64 meerkats from 9 groups in the wild.

The researchers found that call patterns vary with factors such as sex, social status, and reproductive season, suggesting that meerkat calls within a family group provide listeners with cues about the producers. For example, call rates were higher in dominant females and one-year-old males than in other individuals, and were up to five times more frequent during the reproductive season than during the non-reproductive season. However, call patterns were not linked to stress hormones, and the researchers speculate that this may reflect the fact that the calls studied were emitted during the relaxed context of foraging.
-end-
In your coverage please use this URL to provide access to the freely available article in PLOS ONE: http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0175371

Citation: Mausbach J, Braga Goncalves I, Heistermann M, Ganswindt A, Manser MB (2017) Meerkat close calling patterns are linked to sex, social category, season and wind, but not fecal glucocorticoid metabolite concentrations. PLoS ONE 12(5): e0175371. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0175371

Funding: This study was funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation(grant no. 31003A_13676 to Marta B. Manser. The long term field site KMP was financed by Cambridge University, Zurich University and Earthwatch. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.

Competing Interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.

PLOS

Related Social Status Articles:

Social grooming factors influencing social media civility on COVID-19
A new study analyzing tweets about COVID-19 found that users with larger social networks tend to use fewer uncivil remarks when they have more positive responses from others.
The status of women
What drives people seek to high social status? A common evolutionary explanation suggests men do so because, in the past, they were able to leverage their social position into producing more children and propagating their genes.
Social isolation during adolescence drives long-term disruptions in social behavior
Mount Sinai Researchers find social isolation during key developmental windows drives long term changes to activity patterns of neurons involved in initiating social approach in an animal model.
How status sticks to genes
Life at the bottom of the social ladder may have long-term health effects that even upward mobility can't undo, according to new research in monkeys.
Cold temperatures linked to high status
Researchers have discovered that people associate cold temperatures with luxury items, which is important for companies that are trying to promote products that convey high status.
Social media stress can lead to social media addiction
Social network users risk becoming more and more addicted to social media platforms even as they experience stress from their use.
Cooperation with high status individuals may increase one's own status
While other animals tend to gain status through aggression, humans are typically averse to allowing such dominant individuals to achieve high status.
Legal status no guarantee of job security
Legal status is no guarantee that migrants will find more security in the workplace, according to a new study published in the journal Migration Letters.
Pheromones and social status: Machos smell better
Male house mice are territorial and scent-mark their territories with urine -- and dominant, territorial males have much greater reproductive success than other males.
Migrants face a trade-off between status and fertility
Researchers from the universities of Helsinki, Turku and Missouri as well as the Family Federation of Finland present the first results from a new, extraordinarily comprehensive population-wide dataset that details the lives of over 160,000 World War II evacuees in terms of integration.
More Social Status News and Social Status Current Events

Trending Science News

Current Coronavirus (COVID-19) News

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2020.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Listen Again: Reinvention
Change is hard, but it's also an opportunity to discover and reimagine what you thought you knew. From our economy, to music, to even ourselves–this hour TED speakers explore the power of reinvention. Guests include OK Go lead singer Damian Kulash Jr., former college gymnastics coach Valorie Kondos Field, Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs, and entrepreneur Nick Hanauer.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#562 Superbug to Bedside
By now we're all good and scared about antibiotic resistance, one of the many things coming to get us all. But there's good news, sort of. News antibiotics are coming out! How do they get tested? What does that kind of a trial look like and how does it happen? Host Bethany Brookeshire talks with Matt McCarthy, author of "Superbugs: The Race to Stop an Epidemic", about the ins and outs of testing a new antibiotic in the hospital.
Now Playing: Radiolab

Dispatch 6: Strange Times
Covid has disrupted the most basic routines of our days and nights. But in the middle of a conversation about how to fight the virus, we find a place impervious to the stalled plans and frenetic demands of the outside world. It's a very different kind of front line, where urgent work means moving slow, and time is marked out in tiny pre-planned steps. Then, on a walk through the woods, we consider how the tempo of our lives affects our minds and discover how the beats of biology shape our bodies. This episode was produced with help from Molly Webster and Tracie Hunte. Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate.