Journal of Ethology

, Volume 31, Issue 3, pp 255-259

First online:

Seismic communication in demon African mole rat Tachyoryctes daemon from Tanzania

  • Ema HrouzkováAffiliated withFaculty of Science, University of South Bohemia
  • , Veronika DvořákováAffiliated withFaculty of Science, University of South Bohemia
  • , Petr JedličkaAffiliated withInstitute of Geophysics ASCR
  • , Radim ŠumberaAffiliated withFaculty of Science, University of South Bohemia Email author 

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We describe the production of substrate-borne vibrations in a subterranean mole rat of the genus Tachyoryctes for the first time. These signals with a supposed communication function were recorded using two approaches. Firstly, we recorded the production of spontaneous substrate-borne vibrations of individual test animals in artificial tunnels simulating a mole rat burrow system. Secondly, we recorded substrate-borne vibrations in individuals with interconnected home systems divided by a barrier. We found that Tachyoryctes produces these seismic signals by striking its head against the ceiling of the tunnel. Two types of seismic signals differing in physical parameters were identified. A slow signal (inter-pulse distance 0.12 s, inter-bout distance 3.89 s, number of pulses within each bout 9.53) was produced in both experiments, whereas a fast signal (inter-pulse distance 0.05 s, inter-bout distance 18.44 s, number of pulses within each bout 22.54) was produced mainly in close proximity to another individual. Our results indicate that fast signals are probably individually specific, because the success rate of classification according to discriminant function analysis was 70.4 % for the three tested individuals.


Seismic communication Tachyoryctes Substrate-borne vibration Subterranean mammal