research

“Delectatur musica”  or “Delighted by music”

-Linnaeus, 1787, Systemae Naturae, in reference to house mice (Mus)

We study the sounds of rodents, a group of animals with underappreciated voices.  We are interested in where, when, why, & how mice produce vocalizations, with special focus on interactions where closely related species come into geographic contact. We also have interests in understanding what vocal rodents can teach us about human speech disorders, injuries, & aging.

Current studies focus on two groups in both field & laboratory settings.

Grasshopper mice (Onychomys)

“A piercing whistle, insect-like in quality but as smooth & prolonged as the hunting call of the timber wolf.”

– Vernon Bailey (1931)

Neotropical singing mice (Scotinomys)

“The most elaborate sequence of sounds in the species’ repertoire is the “song”. The song of [S. teguina] is a quick sequence of 52 to 129 beats or pulses of sound, somewhat resembling the trill of an insect. Initially, the sequence is so rapid that individual beats are obscured. As the song progresses, pauses between the pulses gradually lengthen as do the pulses themselves &, consequently, the end of a song is attenuated, each beat sounding crisply in a staccato manner. “

– Hooper & Carleton (1976)

 

More information forthcoming. Please check our findings page for recent discoveries.