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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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Song duration (a) and syllables rate (b) in the different social contexts.Box plots are separated by sex and population. Abbreviations and colours as in Figure 4. Asterisks denote the cases where found differences were significant (p≤0.05 (*), p≤0.01 (**)).
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pone-0097244-g005: Song duration (a) and syllables rate (b) in the different social contexts.Box plots are separated by sex and population. Abbreviations and colours as in Figure 4. Asterisks denote the cases where found differences were significant (p≤0.05 (*), p≤0.01 (**)).

Mentions: The other two temporal parameters (song duration and syllables per second) were analysed separately of the number of songs, as only those mice that had emitted at least three songs in the respective recording night, were included into the analysis. Neither social context nor social familiarity had an influence on song duration or syllables per second (PERMANOVA: all p>0.1; Figure 5).


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)

Song duration (a) and syllables rate (b) in the different social contexts.Box plots are separated by sex and population. Abbreviations and colours as in Figure 4. Asterisks denote the cases where found differences were significant (p≤0.05 (*), p≤0.01 (**)).
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

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

pone-0097244-g005: Song duration (a) and syllables rate (b) in the different social contexts.Box plots are separated by sex and population. Abbreviations and colours as in Figure 4. Asterisks denote the cases where found differences were significant (p≤0.05 (*), p≤0.01 (**)).
Mentions: The other two temporal parameters (song duration and syllables per second) were analysed separately of the number of songs, as only those mice that had emitted at least three songs in the respective recording night, were included into the analysis. Neither social context nor social familiarity had an influence on song duration or syllables per second (PERMANOVA: all p>0.1; Figure 5).

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