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Male mice song syntax depends on social contexts and influences female preferences.

Chabout J, Sarkar A, Dunson DB, Jarvis ED - Front Behav Neurosci (2015)

Bottom Line: Males emit longer and simpler syllables and sequences when singing to females, but more complex syllables and sequences in response to fresh female urine.Playback experiments show that the females prefer the complex songs over the simpler ones.We propose the complex songs are to lure females in, whereas the directed simpler sequences are used for direct courtship.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Neurobiology, Duke University Medical Center Durham, NC, USA ; Howard Hughes Medical Institute Chevy Chase, MD, USA.

ABSTRACT
In 2005, Holy and Guo advanced the idea that male mice produce ultrasonic vocalizations (USV) with some features similar to courtship songs of songbirds. Since then, studies showed that male mice emit USV songs in different contexts (sexual and other) and possess a multisyllabic repertoire. Debate still exists for and against plasticity in their vocalizations. But the use of a multisyllabic repertoire can increase potential flexibility and information, in how elements are organized and recombined, namely syntax. In many bird species, modulating song syntax has ethological relevance for sexual behavior and mate preferences. In this study we exposed adult male mice to different social contexts and developed a new approach of analyzing their USVs based on songbird syntax analysis. We found that male mice modify their syntax, including specific sequences, length of sequence, repertoire composition, and spectral features, according to stimulus and social context. Males emit longer and simpler syllables and sequences when singing to females, but more complex syllables and sequences in response to fresh female urine. Playback experiments show that the females prefer the complex songs over the simpler ones. We propose the complex songs are to lure females in, whereas the directed simpler sequences are used for direct courtship. These results suggest that although mice have a much more limited ability of song modification, they could still be used as animal models for understanding some vocal communication features that songbirds are used for.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus

Detailed spectral features calculated by MATLAB® Software. Duration, inter-syllable interval (ISI), peak frequency min (Pf min), peak frequency max (Pf max), peak frequency start (Pf start), peak frequency end (Pf end), and bandwidth.
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Figure 2: Detailed spectral features calculated by MATLAB® Software. Duration, inter-syllable interval (ISI), peak frequency min (Pf min), peak frequency max (Pf max), peak frequency start (Pf start), peak frequency end (Pf end), and bandwidth.

Mentions: All analyses were conducted on a total of 24,320 classified syllables in UR, 29 in URM, 16,217 in AF, 22,184 in FE and 2743 in AM from 12 males. The following spectral features were calculated automatically by the MATLAB code from the sonograms of each of the classified syllables types: Syllable duration, inter-syllable interval, standard deviation of pitch distribution, pitch (mean frequency), frequency modulation, spectral purity, and bandwidth (Figure 2). Spectral purity was calculated as the instantaneous maximum power at the peak frequency normalized by the instantaneous total power in the spectrum, averaged across the entire syllable; a pure tone has a spectral purity of 1, and white noise approaches 0.


Male mice song syntax depends on social contexts and influences female preferences.

Chabout J, Sarkar A, Dunson DB, Jarvis ED - Front Behav Neurosci (2015)

Detailed spectral features calculated by MATLAB® Software. Duration, inter-syllable interval (ISI), peak frequency min (Pf min), peak frequency max (Pf max), peak frequency start (Pf start), peak frequency end (Pf end), and bandwidth.
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4383150&req=5

Figure 2: Detailed spectral features calculated by MATLAB® Software. Duration, inter-syllable interval (ISI), peak frequency min (Pf min), peak frequency max (Pf max), peak frequency start (Pf start), peak frequency end (Pf end), and bandwidth.
Mentions: All analyses were conducted on a total of 24,320 classified syllables in UR, 29 in URM, 16,217 in AF, 22,184 in FE and 2743 in AM from 12 males. The following spectral features were calculated automatically by the MATLAB code from the sonograms of each of the classified syllables types: Syllable duration, inter-syllable interval, standard deviation of pitch distribution, pitch (mean frequency), frequency modulation, spectral purity, and bandwidth (Figure 2). Spectral purity was calculated as the instantaneous maximum power at the peak frequency normalized by the instantaneous total power in the spectrum, averaged across the entire syllable; a pure tone has a spectral purity of 1, and white noise approaches 0.

Bottom Line: Males emit longer and simpler syllables and sequences when singing to females, but more complex syllables and sequences in response to fresh female urine.Playback experiments show that the females prefer the complex songs over the simpler ones.We propose the complex songs are to lure females in, whereas the directed simpler sequences are used for direct courtship.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Neurobiology, Duke University Medical Center Durham, NC, USA ; Howard Hughes Medical Institute Chevy Chase, MD, USA.

ABSTRACT
In 2005, Holy and Guo advanced the idea that male mice produce ultrasonic vocalizations (USV) with some features similar to courtship songs of songbirds. Since then, studies showed that male mice emit USV songs in different contexts (sexual and other) and possess a multisyllabic repertoire. Debate still exists for and against plasticity in their vocalizations. But the use of a multisyllabic repertoire can increase potential flexibility and information, in how elements are organized and recombined, namely syntax. In many bird species, modulating song syntax has ethological relevance for sexual behavior and mate preferences. In this study we exposed adult male mice to different social contexts and developed a new approach of analyzing their USVs based on songbird syntax analysis. We found that male mice modify their syntax, including specific sequences, length of sequence, repertoire composition, and spectral features, according to stimulus and social context. Males emit longer and simpler syllables and sequences when singing to females, but more complex syllables and sequences in response to fresh female urine. Playback experiments show that the females prefer the complex songs over the simpler ones. We propose the complex songs are to lure females in, whereas the directed simpler sequences are used for direct courtship. These results suggest that although mice have a much more limited ability of song modification, they could still be used as animal models for understanding some vocal communication features that songbirds are used for.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus