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A role for ultrasonic vocalisation in social communication and divergence of natural populations of the house mouse (Mus musculus domesticus).

von Merten S, Hoier S, Pfeifle C, Tautz D - PLoS ONE (2014)

Bottom Line: We have analysed song frequency and duration, as well as spectral features of songs and syllables.Using a statistical syntax analysis we find complex temporal sequencing patterns that could suggest that the syntax conveys meaningful information to the receivers.We conclude that wild mice use USV for complex social interactions and that USV patterns can diverge fast between populations.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department Evolutionary Genetics, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology, Plön, Germany.

ABSTRACT
It has long been known that rodents emit signals in the ultrasonic range, but their role in social communication and mating is still under active exploration. While inbred strains of house mice have emerged as a favourite model to study ultrasonic vocalisation (USV) patterns, studies in wild animals and natural situations are still rare. We focus here on two wild derived mouse populations. We recorded them in dyadic encounters for extended periods of time to assess possible roles of USVs and their divergence between allopatric populations. We have analysed song frequency and duration, as well as spectral features of songs and syllables. We show that the populations have indeed diverged in several of these aspects and that USV patterns emitted in a mating context differ from those emitted in same sex encounters. We find that females vocalize not less, in encounters with another female even more than males. This implies that the current focus of USVs being emitted mainly by males within the mating context needs to be reconsidered. Using a statistical syntax analysis we find complex temporal sequencing patterns that could suggest that the syntax conveys meaningful information to the receivers. We conclude that wild mice use USV for complex social interactions and that USV patterns can diverge fast between populations.

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Number of songs emitted in the different social contexts.Box plots are separated by sex and population. DiffPop = Different population, different sex; DiffSex = Same population, different sex; SameSex = Same population, same sex. GER  =  German mice (f = females in pink, m = males in red), FRA = French mice (females in light blue, males in blue). Asterisks denote the cases where found differences were significant (p≤0.001 (***)). A tentative removal of the outlier mouse (310 songs in DS) did not change the results of the statistical analysis.
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pone-0097244-g004: Number of songs emitted in the different social contexts.Box plots are separated by sex and population. DiffPop = Different population, different sex; DiffSex = Same population, different sex; SameSex = Same population, same sex. GER  =  German mice (f = females in pink, m = males in red), FRA = French mice (females in light blue, males in blue). Asterisks denote the cases where found differences were significant (p≤0.001 (***)). A tentative removal of the outlier mouse (310 songs in DS) did not change the results of the statistical analysis.

Mentions: German mice tended to emit more songs than French mice (Figure 4). This effect was, however, not significant in any of the social contexts (PERMANOVA: all p>0.1). In all situations, females emitted more songs than males of the same population (Figure 4). This influence of sex on the number of songs was only significant in the SameSex situation (PERMANOVA: SameSex, sex: F(1) = 13.021, p = 0.001; all other p>0.1).


A role for ultrasonic vocalisation in social communication and divergence of natural populations of the house mouse (Mus musculus domesticus).

von Merten S, Hoier S, Pfeifle C, Tautz D - PLoS ONE (2014)

Number of songs emitted in the different social contexts.Box plots are separated by sex and population. DiffPop = Different population, different sex; DiffSex = Same population, different sex; SameSex = Same population, same sex. GER  =  German mice (f = females in pink, m = males in red), FRA = French mice (females in light blue, males in blue). Asterisks denote the cases where found differences were significant (p≤0.001 (***)). A tentative removal of the outlier mouse (310 songs in DS) did not change the results of the statistical analysis.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4016290&req=5

pone-0097244-g004: Number of songs emitted in the different social contexts.Box plots are separated by sex and population. DiffPop = Different population, different sex; DiffSex = Same population, different sex; SameSex = Same population, same sex. GER  =  German mice (f = females in pink, m = males in red), FRA = French mice (females in light blue, males in blue). Asterisks denote the cases where found differences were significant (p≤0.001 (***)). A tentative removal of the outlier mouse (310 songs in DS) did not change the results of the statistical analysis.
Mentions: German mice tended to emit more songs than French mice (Figure 4). This effect was, however, not significant in any of the social contexts (PERMANOVA: all p>0.1). In all situations, females emitted more songs than males of the same population (Figure 4). This influence of sex on the number of songs was only significant in the SameSex situation (PERMANOVA: SameSex, sex: F(1) = 13.021, p = 0.001; all other p>0.1).

Bottom Line: We have analysed song frequency and duration, as well as spectral features of songs and syllables.Using a statistical syntax analysis we find complex temporal sequencing patterns that could suggest that the syntax conveys meaningful information to the receivers.We conclude that wild mice use USV for complex social interactions and that USV patterns can diverge fast between populations.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department Evolutionary Genetics, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology, Plön, Germany.

ABSTRACT
It has long been known that rodents emit signals in the ultrasonic range, but their role in social communication and mating is still under active exploration. While inbred strains of house mice have emerged as a favourite model to study ultrasonic vocalisation (USV) patterns, studies in wild animals and natural situations are still rare. We focus here on two wild derived mouse populations. We recorded them in dyadic encounters for extended periods of time to assess possible roles of USVs and their divergence between allopatric populations. We have analysed song frequency and duration, as well as spectral features of songs and syllables. We show that the populations have indeed diverged in several of these aspects and that USV patterns emitted in a mating context differ from those emitted in same sex encounters. We find that females vocalize not less, in encounters with another female even more than males. This implies that the current focus of USVs being emitted mainly by males within the mating context needs to be reconsidered. Using a statistical syntax analysis we find complex temporal sequencing patterns that could suggest that the syntax conveys meaningful information to the receivers. We conclude that wild mice use USV for complex social interactions and that USV patterns can diverge fast between populations.

Show MeSH
Related in: MedlinePlus