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Narins, P.M., Lewis, E.R., Jarvis, J.J.U.M. and O’Riain, J. 1997. The Use of Seismic Signals by Fossorial Southern African Mammals: A Neuroethological Gold Mine. Brain Research Bulletin, 44(5): 641–646


Description:

The Use of Seismic Signals by Fossorial Southern African Mammals: A Neuroethological Gold Mine.

Summary / Notes:

Behavioral adaptations exhibited by two African fossorial mammals for the reception of vibrational signals are discussed. The Namib Desert golden mole (Eremitalpa granti namibensis) is a functionally blind, nocturnal insectivore in the family Chrysochloridae that surface forages nightly in the Namib desert. Both geophone and microphone recordings in the substrate suggest that the golden mole is able to detect termite colonies and other prey items solely using seismic cues. This animal exhibits a hypertrophied malleus, an adaptation favoring detection of low-frequency signals. In a field study of the Cape mole-rat (Georychus capensis), a subterranean rodent in the family Bathyergidae, both seismic and auditory signals were tested for their propagation characteristics. This solitary animal is entirely fossorial and apparently communicates with its conspecifics by drumming its hind legs on the burrow floor. Auditory signals attenuate rapidly in the substrate, whereas vibratory signals generated in one burrow are easily detectable in neighboring burrows. The sensitivity to substrate vibrations in two orders of burrowing mammals suggests that this sense is likely to be widespread within this taxon and may serve as a neuroethological model for understanding the evolution of vibrational communication. Neuroethological implications of these findings are discussed. Keywords: Vibrational communication, Cape mole-rat, Georychus, Golden mole, Eremitalpa, Foraging.

Year: 1997

Type: Journal Article

URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0361923097002864


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