Adaptive optimal sound for vocal communication in tunnels of a subterranean mammal (Spalax ehrenbergi)

G. Heth, E. Frankenberg, E. Nevo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The adaptive value of sound signal characteristics for transmission in the underground tunnel ecotope was tested using tunnels of the solitary territorial subterranean mole rats. We analyzed the propagation of synthetic calls with various frequencies through natural tunnels along different distances. Here we present evidence that sound propagation proved efficient only across short distances (a few meters). The least attenuation of sounds occurred at low frequencies. The 440 Hz sound was transmitted better than the lower (220 Hz) or higher (880, 1760, 3520 Hz) tested frequencies. These characteristics matched perfectly with the mole rat features of vocalization and hearing, thus reflecting the operation of natural selection for adaptive vocal communication in the underground tunnel ecotope.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1287-1289
Number of pages3
JournalExperientia
Volume42
Issue number11-12
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1986

Keywords

  • Sound transmission underground
  • subterranean mole rats
  • vocal communication

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology (all)

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