Seismic communication in demon African mole rat Tachyoryctes daemon from Tanzania
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.
KeywordsSeismic communication Tachyoryctes Substrate-borne vibration Subterranean mammal
We would like to thank Simona Poláková for her help with statistical analysis, Chris Steer for correction of English and two reviewers for their comments. The research was supported by GAČR 31-P506/11/1512.
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