Spectral analysis of neonatal wolf Canis lupus vocalizations

Coscia, E.M., Phillips, D.P. & Fentress, J.C. (1991). Spectral analysis of neonatal wolf Canis lupus vocalizations. Bioacoustics, Volume 3 (4): 275 -293

Timber wolf Canis lupus pups vocalize within hours of birth. In this report we examine aspects of the acoustical structure of these vocalizations. We installed an unobtrusive monitoring system in a den excavated by a group of pack-reared timber wolves at the Dalhousie Animal Behavior Field Station in order to observe and record at close range the activities of a female wolf with her litter of pups. We obtained audio and video recordings from birth through the first six postnatal weeks, after which time the pups emerged from the den. The audio recordings were analyzed spectrographically and the vocalizations were classified according to gross spectral type, duration, presence and rate of frequency modulation, and spectral bandwidth. Joint differences in at least two dimensions were necessary to classify vocalizations. The most common sounds, present as early as day one, were harmonically structured, with fundamental frequencies that decreased with age. Other vocalizations, which were rare and resembled recognizable adult sound types, were not apparent until after the second postnatal week.