Mice Sing, Teach of the Genetics of Speech

Scotinomys sp. singing mouse. Photo courtesy of Bret Pasch.

While hiking through an oak savannah with the dogs yesterday, we heard plenty of rodent vocalizations. Though we only saw one, we recognized the vocalizations as those of chipmunks, Tamias sp. The pitch and staccato of the vocalizations made them easily recognizable as warning calls. And since we were interfering with the chipmunks’ acorn gathering on a lovely, fall-like day, there was no doubt that the dogs and I were really annoying the chippies.

Warnings are not the only reason for vocalizations in wild rodents. Mate selection is influenced by Scotinomys’ (Alston’s singing mice) singing as well. And where mate selection is at play, can hormones be far behind? Continue reading “Mice Sing, Teach of the Genetics of Speech”