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Vocal behaviour in the endangered corsican deer: description and phylogenetic implications.
journal contributionposted on 2023-06-07, 18:23 authored by Nicolas Kidjo, Bruno Cargnelutti, Benjamin D Charlton, Christian Wilson, David Reby
Here we present the first description of the vocal behaviour of the Tyrrhenian subspecies of Red Deer, the Corsican Deer. Vocalisations from calves, hinds and stags were recorded. Their acoustic characteristics were analysed in order to contrast these with published data characterising central European Red Deer hind and calve contact calls and Scottish Red Deer stag mating calls. We found that the vocal repertoire of Corsican Deer was very comparable with that of central European and Scottish Red Deer, with the exception of one call type, the harsh roar, absent in the Corsican Deer repertoire. Because Corsican Deer are the smallest subspecies of Red Deer, we expected calls to be characterised by higher spectral components. However, while male roars did have higher vocal tract resonances, consistent with a shorter vocal tract, we found that the fundamental frequency (F0) was much lower than predicted, in fact the lowest recorded in any studied Red Deer subspecies. We also found a strong sexual dimorphism in F0, with male calls approximately twice as low as female calls, suggesting that the low F0 observed in Corsican male roars is a result of sexual selection for lower-pitched males. The results of this study emphasise the phenotypic originality of Corsican Deer, and strengthen the case for its conservation. We also argue that future studies should compare the vocal behaviour of Corsican Deer with that of other circum-Mediterranean populations.
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