The Caviomorph rodents have precocious young and vary in social complexity, resorting to acoustic communication to efficiently regulate social interactions intra-group and to avoid intruders and predators. The wild cavy Cavia aperea, one of the species with the largest geographic distribution, is considered a wild representative of the domestic Cavia porcellus, a species with a remarkable acoustic repertoire. We conducted a descriptive study on the acoustic behaviour of a captive population of C. aperea. We observed animals in groups, in pairs and isolated pups, and conducted sonographic and descriptive analyses. Ten distinct call types were identified: teeth-chattering, structurally variable contact calls, whines and squeals, a scream, alarm whistle, almost exclusive pup-isolation whistle and tweet calls, and the previously described alarm drrr and courtship purr calls. As in other caviomorphs, some of these signals may carry information about specific contexts and moods and others may communicate arousal. The similarity of this repertoire size to that of C. porcellus shows that the richness of the latter is not a product of domestication. Instead, it may be associated with a relatively complex social life and other ecological factors. Our data set the groundwork for comparative studies of the evolution of acoustic communication.
acoustic repertoire, alarm whistle, guinea pig, hystricognath rodents, social behaviour