Potential Sources of High Frequency and Biphonic Vocalization in the Dhole (<i>Cuon alpinus</i>)

Abstract

<div><p>Biphonation, i.e. two independent fundamental frequencies in a call spectrum, is a prominent feature of vocal activity in dog-like canids. Dog-like canids can produce a low (f0) and a high (g0) fundamental frequency simultaneously. In contrast, fox-like canids are only capable of producing the low fundamental frequency (f0). Using a comparative anatomical approach for revealing macroscopic structures potentially responsible for canid biphonation, we investigated the vocal anatomy for 4 (1 male, 3 female) captive dholes (<i>Cuon alpinus</i>) and for 2 (1 male, 1 female) wild red fox (<i>Vulpes vulpes</i>). In addition, we analyzed the acoustic structure of vocalizations in the same dholes that served postmortem as specimens for the anatomical investigation. All study dholes produced both high-frequency and biphonic calls. The anatomical reconstructions revealed that the vocal morphologies of the dhole are very similar to those of the red fox. These results suggest that the high-frequency and biphonic calls in dog-like canids can be produced without specific anatomical adaptations of the sound-producing structures. We discuss possible production modes for the high-frequency and biphonic calls involving laryngeal and nasal structures.</p></div

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