Social signals of adult American alligators. Bulletin of the AMNH ; v. 160, article 3

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New York : American Museum of Natural History
"For the first time the signaling behaviors of adult American alligators (Alligator mississippiensis Daudin) are described systematically. Eighteen behaviors are divided into eight visual, six vocal, and four nonvocal acoustic signals, but some signals are a composite of elements from all three modalities. Among these signals, most are discrete rather than graded, and nearly all are given by both sexes. Among the vocalizations sound energy is concentrated at less than 1 kHz., with most dominant frequencies less than 250 Hz. Communication over long distances is accomplished by acoustic signals, whereas visual signals are chiefly used at shorter distances between alligators. This dichotomy may be the result of selection for acoustic signals in the alligator's vegetated habitat. Most of the semi-aquatic alligator's social behaviors occur in the water, and the importance of water is illustrated by the many signals that result from the amount of body surface exposed above the water and by the transmission of acoustic signals through the water. Alligators and other crocodilians share many signal elements, although they may be combined in different ways in order to serve different communication functions. The alligator signaling system also shows complexity similar to that reported in birds and mammals, again demonstrating that some reptiles are not behaviorally uncomplicated in spite of their general inferior capacity for sustained metabolic activity"--P. 157.
p. 155-192 : ill. ; 26 cm.
Includes bibliographical references (p. 188-192).