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Ultrasonic vocalizations emitted by flying squirrels.

Murrant MN, Bowman J, Garroway CJ, Prinzen B, Mayberry H, Faure PA - PLoS ONE (2013)

Bottom Line: We demonstrate that flying squirrels produce ultrasonic emissions through recorded bursts of broadband noise and time-frequency structured frequency modulated (FM) vocalizations, some of which were purely ultrasonic.The variety of signals that were recorded suggest that flying squirrels may use ultrasonic vocalizations to transfer information.Thus, vocalizations may be an important, although still poorly understood, aspect of flying squirrel social biology.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Environmental and Life Sciences Graduate Program, Trent University, Peterborough, Ontario, Canada.

ABSTRACT
Anecdotal reports of ultrasound use by flying squirrels have existed for decades, yet there has been little detailed analysis of their vocalizations. Here we demonstrate that two species of flying squirrel emit ultrasonic vocalizations. We recorded vocalizations from northern (Glaucomys sabrinus) and southern (G. volans) flying squirrels calling in both the laboratory and at a field site in central Ontario, Canada. We demonstrate that flying squirrels produce ultrasonic emissions through recorded bursts of broadband noise and time-frequency structured frequency modulated (FM) vocalizations, some of which were purely ultrasonic. Squirrels emitted three types of ultrasonic calls in laboratory recordings and one type in the field. The variety of signals that were recorded suggest that flying squirrels may use ultrasonic vocalizations to transfer information. Thus, vocalizations may be an important, although still poorly understood, aspect of flying squirrel social biology.

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Related in: MedlinePlus

Oscillogram, spectrogram and magnitude spectrum of a Type 4 vocalization.The call was recorded in the field from a male Glaucomys volans calling from an occupied nest cavity. Note the hyperbolic frequency modulated (FM) structure. Call duration  = 10 ms.
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pone-0073045-g004: Oscillogram, spectrogram and magnitude spectrum of a Type 4 vocalization.The call was recorded in the field from a male Glaucomys volans calling from an occupied nest cavity. Note the hyperbolic frequency modulated (FM) structure. Call duration  = 10 ms.

Mentions: While handling captured squirrels in the field, we recorded Type 1 broadband noise bursts from both G. volans and G. sabrinus on several occasions and these vocalizations had similar temporal and spectral parameters to the broadband noise burst we recorded in the laboratory (Fig. 1). We also recorded a fourth type of FM vocalization (Type 4) at an active G. volans nest cavity. This broadband signal was a purely ultrasonic hyperbolic downward FM sweep that began at approximately 51 kHz and swept down to 28 kHz over a duration of 10 ms (Fig. 4). Type 4 vocalizations recorded in the field were emitted in sets of 2, 3, or 5, and all came from a single nest with 3 G. volans. PIT-tag records indicated that the calls corresponded to the arrival of one male squirrel at the nest with two conspecifics already inside.


Ultrasonic vocalizations emitted by flying squirrels.

Murrant MN, Bowman J, Garroway CJ, Prinzen B, Mayberry H, Faure PA - PLoS ONE (2013)

Oscillogram, spectrogram and magnitude spectrum of a Type 4 vocalization.The call was recorded in the field from a male Glaucomys volans calling from an occupied nest cavity. Note the hyperbolic frequency modulated (FM) structure. Call duration  = 10 ms.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC3757013&req=5

pone-0073045-g004: Oscillogram, spectrogram and magnitude spectrum of a Type 4 vocalization.The call was recorded in the field from a male Glaucomys volans calling from an occupied nest cavity. Note the hyperbolic frequency modulated (FM) structure. Call duration  = 10 ms.
Mentions: While handling captured squirrels in the field, we recorded Type 1 broadband noise bursts from both G. volans and G. sabrinus on several occasions and these vocalizations had similar temporal and spectral parameters to the broadband noise burst we recorded in the laboratory (Fig. 1). We also recorded a fourth type of FM vocalization (Type 4) at an active G. volans nest cavity. This broadband signal was a purely ultrasonic hyperbolic downward FM sweep that began at approximately 51 kHz and swept down to 28 kHz over a duration of 10 ms (Fig. 4). Type 4 vocalizations recorded in the field were emitted in sets of 2, 3, or 5, and all came from a single nest with 3 G. volans. PIT-tag records indicated that the calls corresponded to the arrival of one male squirrel at the nest with two conspecifics already inside.

Bottom Line: We demonstrate that flying squirrels produce ultrasonic emissions through recorded bursts of broadband noise and time-frequency structured frequency modulated (FM) vocalizations, some of which were purely ultrasonic.The variety of signals that were recorded suggest that flying squirrels may use ultrasonic vocalizations to transfer information.Thus, vocalizations may be an important, although still poorly understood, aspect of flying squirrel social biology.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Environmental and Life Sciences Graduate Program, Trent University, Peterborough, Ontario, Canada.

ABSTRACT
Anecdotal reports of ultrasound use by flying squirrels have existed for decades, yet there has been little detailed analysis of their vocalizations. Here we demonstrate that two species of flying squirrel emit ultrasonic vocalizations. We recorded vocalizations from northern (Glaucomys sabrinus) and southern (G. volans) flying squirrels calling in both the laboratory and at a field site in central Ontario, Canada. We demonstrate that flying squirrels produce ultrasonic emissions through recorded bursts of broadband noise and time-frequency structured frequency modulated (FM) vocalizations, some of which were purely ultrasonic. Squirrels emitted three types of ultrasonic calls in laboratory recordings and one type in the field. The variety of signals that were recorded suggest that flying squirrels may use ultrasonic vocalizations to transfer information. Thus, vocalizations may be an important, although still poorly understood, aspect of flying squirrel social biology.

Show MeSH
Related in: MedlinePlus