Acoustic analysis of vocalization and the behavioral response associated to sound production of the nine banded armadillo Dasypus novemcinctus (Mammalia, Cingulata, Dasypodidae) in an agonistic context




Bioacoustics, Ethology, Behavioral repertoire, Xenarthra, Cingulates


Although communication capabilities are displayed by many vertebrate groups, some repertoires are poorly known, such as the case of xenarthrans, particularly armadillos, for which vocalization as a source of communicating to others remains poorly understood and relies on punctual reports of sounds. Here we provide the first description of a behavioral response associated with sound emission of two subjects of Dasypus novemcinctus. Both audio and visual registration was performed to subsequent analyses of expressed behaviors and emitted calls, which accounted for 76 vocalizations from a total of eight video recordings randomly collected from 2017 to 2019. Sound is acoustically characterized by both inhale and exhale phases composed of two vocal units, and no harmonic structure was observed. Once the subjects have always produced these vocalizations while cornered and exhibiting defensive behavior against another subject/human disturbance, these vocalizations were termed as distress. Subjects produced a hiss-purr-like sound while trying to avoid contact with another by bowing or lowering their bodies, humping, or even moving elsewhere when sound production ceased. This shows that the sound repertoire of armadillos is still to be unveiled and seems to be much more complex than previously thought.


Download data is not yet available.


Abba, A.M. & Superina, M. 2015. Dasypus hybridus (Cingulata: Dasypodidae). Mammalian Species, 48(931): 10-20.

Amaya, J.; Zufiaurre, E.; Areta, J. & Abba, A. 2019. The weeping vocalization of the screaming hairy armadillo (Chaetophractus vellerosus), a distress call. Journal of Mammalogy, 100: 1-9.

Anderson, S. & Jones-Jr., J. 1984. Orders and families of recent Mammals of the New World. New York, Wiley-Interscience, John Wiley and Sons.

Bezerra, B.; Souto, A.; Halsey, L. & Schiel, N. 2007. Observation of brown-throated three-toed sloths: mating behaviour and the simultaneous nurturing of two young. Journal of Ethology, 26(1): 175-178.

Bioacoustics Research Program. 2014. Raven Pro: Interactive Sound Analysis Software, Version 1.5. [Computer software]. Ithaca, The Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Available from

Caro, T. 2005. Antipredator defences in birds and mammals. Illinois, Chicago, University of Chicago Press.

Christensen, C.G. & Waring, G.H. 1980. The "chuck" sound of the nine-banded armadillo (Dasypus novemcinctus). Journal of Mammalogy, 61: 737-738.

Clark, W.K. 1951. Ecological life history of the armadillo in the eastern Edwards plateau region. The American Midland Naturalist, 46(2): 337-358.

Cooper, B.Y. & Vierck-Jr., C.J. 1986. Vocalizations as measures of pain in monkeys. Pain, 26(3): 393-407.

Costa, F.R.; Pedrini, S.C.B. & Rosa, P.S. 2011. Registro do repertório comportamental associado às interações sociais em Dasypus novemcinctus Linnaeus, 1758 (Mammalia: Cingulata: Dasypodidae). Revista Brasileira de Zoociências, 13: 179-184.

Emmons, L.H. 1999. Mamíferos de los Bosques Húmedos de América Tropical. Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia, Editorial F.A.N.

Emmons, L.H.; Whitney, B.M. & Ross-Jr., D.L. 1998. Sounds of neotropical rainforest Mammals: An audio field guide. Chicago, Illinois, The University of Chicago Press.

Feldhamer, G.; Thompson, B. & Chapman, J. 2003. Wild animals of North America: Biology, management and Conservation. Baltimore, Maryland, Johns Hopkins Press.

Garcia, M. & Favaro, L. 2017. Animal vocal communication: function, structures, and production mechanisms. Current Zoololy, 63(4): 417-419.

Gilmore, D.; Da Costa, C. & Duarte, D. 2001. Sloth biology: an update on their physiological ecology, behaviour and role as vectors of arthropods and arboviruses. Brazilian Journal of Medical and Biological Research, 34: 9-25.

Goffart, M. 1971. Function and form in the sloth. New York, Pergamon Press. 225p.

Greene, H.W. 1988. Agonistic behaviour by three-toed sloths, Bradypus variegatus. Biotropica, 21: 369-372.

Köhler, J.; Jansen, M.; Rodríguez, A.; Kok, P.J.R.; Toledo, L.F.; Emmrich, M.; Glaw, F.; Haddad, C.F.B.; Rödel, M.O. & Vences, M. 2017. The use of bioacoustics in anuran taxonomy: theory, terminology, methods and recommendations for best practice. Zootaxa, 4251(1): 1-124.

Ladich, F. & Myrberg, A.A. 2006. Agonistic behaviour and acoustic communication. In: Ladich, F.; Collin, S.P.; Moller, P. & Kapoor, B.G. (Eds.). Communication in fishes. Enfield, New Hampshire, Science Publishers. p. 122-148.

Ladich, F. & Winkler, H. 2017. Acoustic communication in terrestrial and aquatic vertebrates. Journal of Experimental Biology, 220: 2306-2317.

Lingles, S.; Wyman, M.T.; Kotrba, R.; Teichroeb, L.J. & Romanow, C.A. 2012. What makes a cry a cry? A review of infant distress vocalizations. Current Zoology, 58(5): 698-726.

Loughry, W.J. & McDonough, C.M. 2013. The Nine-Banded Armadillo: A natural history. Norman, Oklahoma, University of Oklahoma Press.

Lowery-Jr., G.H. 1974. The mammals of Louisiana and its adjacent waters. Baton Rouge, Louisiana State University Press.

Lubis, M.Z.; Pujiyati, S. & Hestirianoto, T. 2016. Bioacoustic characteristic of male Dolphins Bottle Nose (Tursiops aduncus). International Journal in Science, Engineering and Technology, 5: 44-49.

Manteuffel, G.; Puppe, B. & Schön, P.C. 2004. Vocalization of farm animals as a measure of welfare. Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 88(1-2): 163-182.

McDonough, C.M. 1997. Pairing behavior of the Nine-banded Armadillos (Dasypus novemcinctus). The American Midland Naturalist Journal, 138(2): 290-298.

Montgomery, G.G. & Sunquist, M.E. 1974. Contact-distress call of young sloths. Journal of Mammalogy, 5(1): 211-213.

Nowak, R. 1999. Walker's Mammals of the World. Baltimore, Maryland, The John Hopkins University Press. p. 158-168.

Rocha, F.L. & Mourão, G. 2006. An agonistic encounter between two Giant Anteaters (Myrmecophaga tridactyla). Edentata, 7: 50-51.

Schmidt, T.L. 2012. Ethogram of the giant anteater (Myrmecophaga tridactyla) in captivity: an experience in the Temaikèn Foundation. Edentata, 13: 38-48.

Shabel, A. 2011. Mammals of the Southern Hemisphere. New York, NY, Marshall Cavendish Corporation.

Shannon, C.E. & Weaver, W. 1949. The mathematical theory of communication. Urbana, IL, The University of Illinois Press.

Smith, P. 2007a. Handbook of the mammals of Paraguay, Myrmecophaga tridactyla. Fauna Paraguay, 3: 1-18.

Smith, P. 2007b. Handbook of the Mammals of Paraguay, Dasypus novemcinctus. Fauna Paraguay, 8: 1-38.

Smith, P. 2011. Handbook of the Mammals of Paraguay, Cabassous unicinctus. Fauna Paraguay, 40: 1-10.

Soares, C.A. & Carneiro, R.S. 2002. Social behaviour between mothers and young of sloths Bradypus variegatus Schinz, 1825 (Xenarthra: Bradypodidae). Brazilian Journal of Biology, 62(2): 249-252.

Sousa, P.C.; Amorim, R.N.L.; Lima, G.L.; Paiva, A.L.C.; Paula, V.V.; Freitas, C.I.A. & Silva, A.R. 2016. Establishment of an anaesthetic protocol for semen collection by electroejaculation in six-banded armadillos (Euphractus sexcinctus Linnaeus, 1758). Arquivo Brasileiro de Medicina Veterinária e Zootecnia, 68(6): 1595-1601.

Superina, M. 2008. The ecology of the pichi Zaedyus pichiy in western Argentina. In: Vizcaino, S.F. & Loughry, W.J. (Eds.). The biology of the Xenarthra. Gainesville, Florida, University Press of Florida. p. 313-318.

Szipl, G.; Ringler, E.; Spreafico, M. & Bugnyar, T. 2017. Calls during agonistic interactions vary with arousal and raise audience attention in ravens. Frontiers in Zoology, 14(57): 1-13.

Talmage, R. & Buchanan, G. 1954. The Armadillo: A Review of its natural history, ecology, anatomy and reproductive physiology. The Rice Institute Pamphlet, 41: 1-12.

Wainwright, M. 2002. The natural history of Costa Rican mammals. Ithaca, New York, Zona Tropical Publications, Cornell University Press.






Original Article

How to Cite

Costa, F. R., Moura, P. H. A. G., Alves-Júnior, S. da R., Rosa, P. S., & Nunes, I. (2022). Acoustic analysis of vocalization and the behavioral response associated to sound production of the nine banded armadillo Dasypus novemcinctus (Mammalia, Cingulata, Dasypodidae) in an agonistic context. Papéis Avulsos De Zoologia, 62, e202262018.