Koala bellows and their association with the spatial dynamics of free-ranging koalas

Ellis, W., Bercovitch, F., FitzGibbon, S. I., Roe, P., Wimmer, J., Melzer, A. and Wilson, R. (2011) Koala bellows and their association with the spatial dynamics of free-ranging koalas. Behavioral Ecology, 22 2: 372-377. doi:10.1093/beheco/arq216

Author Ellis, W.
Bercovitch, F.
FitzGibbon, S. I.
Roe, P.
Wimmer, J.
Melzer, A.
Wilson, R.
Title Koala bellows and their association with the spatial dynamics of free-ranging koalas
Journal name Behavioral Ecology   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1045-2249
Publication date 2011-03
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1093/beheco/arq216
Volume 22
Issue 2
Start page 372
End page 377
Total pages 6
Editor Mark Elgar
Place of publication Cary, NC, U.S.A.
Publisher Oxford University Press
Collection year 2012
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Acoustic communication mediates sociality in a variety of animals. One of the more ubiquitous vocal signals to have evolved is the sexual advertisement call of males. Koala (Phascolarctos cinereus) males emit a sonorous bellow call during the breeding season, but no detailed studies of the calling context appear to have been published. We used a novel remote sound detection network to monitor koala bellowing while simultaneously collecting koala behavioral data using collar-mounted GPS units. Our approach enabled us to examine fine scale temporal variation in vocalization and spatial movements of free-ranging koalas without direct behavioral observations. Bellow occurrence was susceptible to weather conditions, with fewer calls occurring when wind speed and temperatures were high. The number of bellow vocalizations recorded during an annual period mirrored breeding activity, with nearly all male bellows recorded during peak mating season. The distance traveled by koalas and the occurrence of koala bellows both peaked around midnight, but only female travel distance during the breeding season was temporally correlated with bellow occurrence. We conclude that environmental factors might trigger male bellowing to launch the breeding season and that these male vocal signals function more to attract females than to repel males. Female mate selection is probably an important component of male reproductive success in koalas, which is partly mediated by male bellow characteristics.
© The Author 2011. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the International Society for Behavioral Ecology. All rights reserved.
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ
Additional Notes First published online: February 4, 2011

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Centre for Mined Land Rehabilitation Publications
Official 2012 Collection
School of Biological Sciences Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 13 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
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Created: Thu, 24 Mar 2011, 16:14:12 EST by Mr Sean Fitzgibbon on behalf of Centre For Mined Land Rehabilitation