Seismic communication in a blind subterranean mammal: A major somatosensory mechanism in adaptive evolution underground

E. Nevo, G. Heth, H. Pratt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Seismic communication, through low-frequency and patterned substrate-borne vibrations that are generated by head thumping, and which travel long distances underground, is important in the nonvisual communication of subterranean mole rats of the Spalax ehrenbergi superspecies (2n = 52, 54, 58, and 60) in Israel. This importance pertains both intraspecifically in adaptation and interspecifically in speciation. Neurophysiologic, behavioral, and anatomic findings in this study suggest that the mechanism of long-distance seismic communication is basically somatosensory and is independent of the auditory mechanism. Seismic communication thus appears to be a channel of communication important in the evolution of subterranean mammals that display major adaptation to life underground.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1256-1260
Number of pages5
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Volume88
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - 1991

Keywords

  • adaptation
  • mole rat
  • Spalax
  • speciation
  • underground vibrations

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

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