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Geographic Variation in Alarm Calls of Gunnison's Prairie Dogs
Communication Skills Collection
  • C. N. Slobodchikoff, Northern Arizona University
  • S. H. Ackers, Northern Arizona University
  • M. Van Ert, Northern Arizona University
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Geographic variation in alarm calls of Gunnison's prairie dogs (Cynomys gunnisoni) was analyzed at regional and local scales. Alarm calls in response to a common stimulus (the same human) were recorded at four colonies near Flagstaff, Arizona, and at six sites throughout the southwestern United States. The acoustic structure of calls was analyzed for seven call variables. Regional differences fit the prediction of greater differences with increased geographical separation. Differences between colonies at a local scale were not related to geographical distance, suggesting that local dialects exist within a region. Differences in the level of predation by humans between colonies or habitat effects on sound propagation may explain variation in calls at the local level.


open access article

Citation Information
C. N. Slobodchikoff, S. H. Ackers, M. Van Ert, Geographic Variation in Alarm Calls of Gunnison's Prairie Dogs, Journal of Mammalogy, Volume 79, Issue 4, 3 December 1998, Pages 1265–1272,