Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology

, Volume 59, Issue 6, pp 842–850

Wild elephant (Loxodonta africana) breeding herds respond to artificially transmitted seismic stimuli

  • C. E. O’Connell-Rodwell
  • J. D. Wood
  • T. C. Rodwell
  • S. Puria
  • S. R. Partan
  • R. Keefe
  • D. Shriver
  • B. T. Arnason
  • L. A. Hart
Original Article

DOI: 10.1007/s00265-005-0136-2

Cite this article as:
O’Connell-Rodwell, C.E., Wood, J.D., Rodwell, T.C. et al. Behav Ecol Sociobiol (2006) 59: 842. doi:10.1007/s00265-005-0136-2

Abstract

Seismic communication is known to be utilized in insects, amphibians, reptiles, and small mammals, but its use has not yet been documented in large mammals. Elephants produce low-frequency vocalizations, and these vocalizations have seismic components that propagate in the ground, but it has not yet been demonstrated that elephants can detect or interpret these seismic signals. In this study, we played back seismic replicates of elephant alarm vocalizations to herds of wild African elephants in their natural environment and observed significant behavioral changes indicating that they had detected these signals. Seismic communication may provide an important complement to existing communication modes used by elephants. Seismic sensitivity may also provide elephants with an additional modality for sensing important environmental cues such as changes in weather patterns or seismic disturbances.

Keywords

Elephant seismic communicationLoxodonta africana

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • C. E. O’Connell-Rodwell
    • 1
    • 2
  • J. D. Wood
    • 1
    • 2
  • T. C. Rodwell
    • 3
  • S. Puria
    • 4
    • 2
  • S. R. Partan
    • 5
  • R. Keefe
    • 5
  • D. Shriver
    • 1
  • B. T. Arnason
    • 6
  • L. A. Hart
    • 7
  1. 1.Department of Geophysics 360 Mitchell HallStanford UniversityStanfordUSA
  2. 2.Department of Otolaryngology, Head & Neck Surgery, 801 Welch Rd.Stanford University School of MedicineStanfordUSA
  3. 3.Stanford University School of MedicineStanfordUSA
  4. 4.Department of Mechanical EngineeringStanford UniversityStanfordUSA
  5. 5.Department of PsychologyUniversity of South FloridaSt. PetersburgUSA
  6. 6.Tezar, Inc.AustinUSA
  7. 7.Department of Population Health and Reproduction, School of Veterinary MedicineUniversity of CaliforniaDavisUSA