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  • Erdmännchen in der Lewa Savanne des Zoo Zürich.

    Development of meerkat vocalisations

    Meerkats possess a broad vocal repertoire with specific call types for communicating with one another. While most studies have been based on adult meerkats hitherto, little is known about the vocal repertoire in pups.

    Prof. Marta Manser's research group at the University of Zürich will test how the vocal repertoire of meerkats develops from birth to adulthood. To this end, they will record vocal calls of young meerkats at Zoo Zurich with a microphone.

    Erdmännchen in der Lewa Savanne des Zoo Zürich.

    Meerkats communicate with each other through different call sounds. Most of the studies so far have focused on adult animals. Photo: Zoo Zürich, Albert Schmidmeister

    Junges Erdmännchen in der Lewa Savanne des Zoo Zürich.

    The University of Zurich is now researching how the vocal calls develop from birth to adulthood. A research group is recording the vocal calls with microphones at the zoo. Foto: Zoo Zürich, Enzo Franchini

    Do meerkats recognize alarm calls of other species?

    Meerkats produce various alarm calls as a response to different predators in their environment. Their alarm calls differ based on the urgency and location of the perceived danger.

    However, also a wide range of other species produce alarm calls when perceiving danger in their environment. Interestingly, various species do not only respond to their own alarm calls, but also to the alarm calls of other species.

    By presenting alarm calls of different mongoose species to both wild and captive meerkats, researchers investigate how meerkats identify alarm calls and whether learning is involved in this process.