Print

This user guide is intended to help you explore The Elephant Ethogram and find the information you are looking for. Behaviors and Behavioral Constellations may be found by clicking on the links in the Ethogram Table or by using the Search Functions on the Search Portal. You can read more about how elephants communicate within this section of elephantvoices.org.

The Ethogram Table

The Ethogram Table is an overview of all of the Behaviors, Behavioral Constellations and Behavioral Contexts contained in The Elephant Ethogram. In the left column, we define 23 Contexts. In the middle and right columns we list the Behaviors and Constellations that occur in the different Contexts. Many Behaviors and Constellations occur in more than one Context. The number of video examples of a Behavior/Constellation in a particular Context are given in parentheses.

A click on a linked Behavior or Constellation will take you to where it is documented with a written and referenced description, one or more annotated video examples, and/or audio recordings. Audio recordings are also documented with a spectrogram, accessible through a link in the audio caption.

The Search Portal

Screenshot showing search options in The Elephant Ethogram

There are four Search Functions on the Search Portal that return Behaviors and Constellations matching the search. Click on a linked Behavior or Constellation to read its description and to view the annotated video and/or audio examples. The number of video examples of each Behavior or Constellation across all Contexts is given in parentheses.

The Combined Dropdown Search option allows you to select from one or more dropdown alternatives to find Behaviors or Behavioral Constellations of interest. You may select by: behavioral context; age and gender; part of the body that is actively used; primary mode of communication; and/or sounds of elephants. Under age/sex you may also search for Behaviors and Constellations that are typical of musth males or estrous females.

There are two Free Text Search options. The Free Text Search Name/Description returns Behaviors or Constellations with the word in its name or description, while the Free Text Search Video Caption returns Behaviors or Constellations with the word in one of its video captions. So, for example, if you search on musth in the Search Name/Description, all Behaviors and Constellations with the term "musth" in the name or description will be returned. If you know some of the Amboseli, Mara or Gorongosa elephants by name you can find videos that depict them by using the Search Video Caption.

The fourth option is the Alphabetical Search. Clicking on a letter lists all Behaviors and Constellations starting with that letter.

How to search for sounds

Low frequency infoIf you are particularly interested in the vocalizations and other sounds made by elephants there are multiple options to choose from under Sounds of Elephants within the Combined Dropdown Search. Selecting Laryngeal calls, Trunk calls, Combination calls and/or Novel and Idiosyncratic sounds will return Behaviors and Constellations that are sounds purposefully produced by elephants moving air over the larynx or through the nasal passages.

Selecting "Other acoustic signals" returns signals that have an acoustic combonent, but are produced by movement of parts of the body (e.g., Ear-Slapping, Ear-Flap-Slide), or by an elephant's interaction with its environment (e.g., Foot-Scuffing, Kick-Dust) in response to a specific stimulus and that hold specific meaning. "Other sounds" returns Behaviors or Constellations that include sounds made by elephants in the course of their movement or activities in their environment, that are not signals, but that hold cues for listeners about that individua's behavior (e.g., Scrub-off-Thorns, Drinking, Mud-Splashing).

Click on photos of Behaviors in the slideshow on the Search Portal Page

The Search Portal also includes a slideshow below the search options with a limited number of selected Behaviors and Constellations. Each photograph has a title of the Behavior or Constellation it illustrates and is linked to the page where the Behavior or Constellation is described and documented with video and/or audio. The sequence is random - you can stop the slideshow moving forward by placing your mouse arrow over an image. You will then also see the number of that particular image in the slideshow, potentially for future reference.

Contents of the Behavior and Constellations Pages

The Elephant Ethogram includes a page dedicated to each Behavior and Constellation. A written and referenced description is followed by video and/or audio examples of the behavior in particular Contexts. Many of the audio examples are documented with a spectrogram linked in the caption.

Each video and audio file includes a detailed annotation describing the context, individuals present, their behaviors, the signaler(s) or actor(s), and the recipient(s), if relevant. Each video is labeled with the Behavior/Constellation it is intended to illustrate. To help the user focus attention on the correct individual, body part, or action, a circle may appear at the start of the particular behavior illustrated and, in many cases, will remain for the duration of the action. In cases where the change in behavior is very subtle, such as 'Listening', closed circles may appear next to the label as the behavior begins and remain until the behavior ends. In some cases the Behavior is replayed in slow-motion at the end of the clip.

Videos that illustrate vocalizations include a sound icon after the label. In some cases the icon appears only as the elephant vocalizes, otherwise the vocalizing elephants are circled, unless the caller is obvious. Elephant vocalizations are also documented with annotated audio recordings, as mentioned above.