Italian wolf howls are described for the first time from observations between 2003–2008 of a population living in eastern Tuscany, central Italy. A sample of 37 howls selected among single responses and 128 howls included in the choruses of 7 free ranging packs was recorded and analysed. The mean fundamental frequency of the howls ranged between 274–908 Hz. Two main structures recognised by means of multivariate explorative analysis, in particular Principal Component and Cluster Analysis, were ascribed to breaking and flat howls. Discriminant Function Analysis was applied to the recognised groups with the aim to find a general rule for classification. Howls with different features were correctly assigned to the groups obtained by explorative analysis in 95.8% of cases. The analysis of the variables characterising the structure of the howls suggests that maximum frequency and range of fundamental frequency are the most important parameters for classification, while duration does not appear to play any significant role.
Canis lupus, acoustic structure, mammal communication, sonogram, fundamental frequency.