From insects to whales, most animals have similar call signs

January 6th, 2010 - 5:02 pm ICT by ANI  

Washington, Jan 6 (ANI): Scientists have found common denominators in the calls of hundreds of species of insects, birds, fish, frogs, lizards and other animals.

Compiling data from nearly 500 species, researchers at the University of Florida (UF) and Oklahoma State University have found that the calls of crickets, whales and other creatures are controlled by their metabolic rates - their uptake and use of energy.

“Very few people have compared cricket chirps to codfish sounds to the sounds made by whales and monkeys to see if there were commonalities in the key features of acoustic signals, including the frequency, power and duration of signals,” said James Gillooly, an assistant professor in the department of biology at UF’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and a member of the UF Genetics Institute.

“Our results indicate that, for all species, basic features of acoustic communication are primarily controlled by individual metabolism, which in turn varies predictably with body size and temperature. So, when the calls are adjusted for an animal’s size and temperature, they even sound alike,” Gillooly added.

According to the researchers, the finding will help understand how acoustic communication evolved across species, uniting a field of study that has long focused on the calls of particular groups of animals, such as birds.

The results also provide insights regarding common energetic and neuromuscular constraints on sound production, and the ecological and evolutionary consequences of producing these sounds.

“Acoustic signals are used to transfer information among species that is required for survival, growth and reproduction. This work suggests that this information exchange is ultimately governed by the rate at which an animal takes up and uses energy,” Gillooly said.

The study has been reported in Proceedings of the Royal Society B. (ANI)

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