Volodin I.A., Kozhevnikova J.D., Ilchenko O.G., Sapozhnikova S.R., Volodina E.V. 2023. Cross-fostering effects on ultrasonic calls in two gerbil species // Russian J. Theriol. Vol.22. No.1. P.16–23 [in English].
Ilya A. Volodin [firstname.lastname@example.org], Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Faculty of Biology, Lomonosov Moscow State University, Vorobievy Gory, 1/12, Moscow, 119234, Russia; Department of Behaviour and Behavioural Ecology of Mammals, A.N. Severtsov Institute of Ecology and Evolution, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow 119071, Russia; Julia D. Kozhevnikova [email@example.com], Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Faculty of Biology, Lomonosov Moscow State University, Vorobievy Gory, 1/12, Moscow, 119234, Russia; Olga G. Ilchenko [Ilcha91@mail.ru], Small Mammal Department, Moscow Zoo, B. Gruzinskaya, 1, Moscow, 123242, Russia; Svetlana R. Sapozhnikova [firstname.lastname@example.org], Small Mammal Department, Moscow Zoo, B. Gruzinskaya, 1, Moscow, 123242, Russia; Elena V. Volodina [email@example.com], Department of Behaviour and Behavioural Ecology of Mammals, A.N. Severtsov Institute of Ecology and Evolution, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow 119071, Russia.
ABSTRACT. Mammals not experiencing vocal learning may slightly modify their voice calls (produced by vibration of the vocal folds) towards a higher similarity with conspecific groupmates. This pilot study is the first focused on interspecies social effects on whistle vocalizations (ultrasounds produced by turbulence at the vocal tract). Pup cross-fostering was applied between two related gerbil species Meriones unguiculatus and M. vinogradovi, producing acoustically different ultrasonic contact calls when adult (higher-frequency in M. vinogradovi). Calls of 3 survived foster individuals (2 M. unguiculatus and 1 M. vinogradovi) and of 22 control non-foster individuals raised by their own species (10 M. unguiculatus and 12 M. vinogradovi) were analysed bioacoustically. Call duration of non-fosters did not differ between species, whereas the fundamental and peak frequencies were lower in non-foster M. unguiculatus. Foster M. unguiculatus produced calls shorter and higher in the fundamental and peak frequencies than non-foster M. unguiculatus. Foster M. vinogradovi produced calls shorter and higher in the beginning and minimum fundamental frequencies than non-foster M. vinogradovi. We discuss that the observed trend, towards higher-frequency calls, was only expectable for foster M. unguiculatus, whereas the same trend observed in foster M. vinogradovi was opposed to the expected. These findings provide the possibility that the acoustic properties in foster M. unguiculatus are changed by social effect which apparently lacked on the calls of the foster individual M. vinogradovi. We discuss that these limited data on gerbils are consistent with published contradictory data on laboratory mice strains.
KEY WORDS: acoustic behaviour, Meriones vinogradovi, Meriones unguiculatus, rodents, social effects, ultrasonic vocalization.