Species differences and interspecific interactions in wild Peromyscus ultrasonic vocalizations

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Catherine Carney (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site: http://library.uncg.edu/
Matina Kalcounis-Rüppell

Abstract: Ultrasonic vocalizations (USVs) are commonly produced by many rodents, including all muroids investigated to date (18 genera). The overall adaptive significance of USVs within muroid rodents is not well understood. Most research has focused on the muroid genera Mus and Rattus. Within even these two relatively closely related genera, USV functions vary. Additionally, research on Mus and Rattus has been conducted exclusively in the laboratory and may be subject to laboratory effects. In order to contribute toward understanding the function of Peromyscus USVs, the context in which USVs are produced in the wild is investigated. Wild syntopic Peromyscus californicus and P. boylii are used as an example to explore 1) species differences in the spectral characteristics of USVs, and 2) interactions in USV production between two syntopic species. Both species vocalized, and the most commonly recorded USV motifs were 1-5 syllable vocalizations (SV). There are species differences in spectral characteristics of 1-5 SV USVs, but there is also high variability within each species. On average, P. boylii vocalizes 8 kHz higher than P. californicus. Frequencies do overlap between species, but frequency measurements can be used reliably to assign USVs to one of the two species, based on binary logistic regression and/or discriminant function analysis. Sixty-two percent of P. californicus and 82% of P. boylii USVs recorded occurred on the 42 nights (out of 123) when both species vocalized. Thirty-seven percent of P. californicus USVs and 52% of P. boylii USVs occurred within 5 minutes of an USV from a heterospecific. There were positive correlations between species in USV production on 8 out of 11 nights when each species produced more than 3 USVs, suggesting interactions between P. californicus and P. boylii do occur. Further research is warranted to understand the context and extent of the interactions.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2009
Behavior, Communication, Interspecific, Peromyscus, Rodent, Ultrasonic vocalizations (USVs)
Peromyscus $x Vocalization
Brush mouse $x Vocalization

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