Male mice drive females wild with ultrasonic love ballads

March 6th, 2010 - 1:16 pm ICT by ANI  

Washington, Mar 6 (ANI): Male mice sing ultrasonic love songs to woo females, a new study has found.

The ultrasonic songs vary widely, with some winning males emitting tunes that prove irresistible to females.

And as the song quality varies among males, the songs help females to choose the best mates.

However, it is not known what exactly makes a “hit love song” in the mice world.

“It could be a question of different syllable types or endurance in singing or a combination of both — all together it could help the female to choose the best mate,” Discovery News quoted lead author Kerstin Musolf as saying.

The researchers believe that their study is the first to examine the ultrasonic vocalizations of wild-derived house mice.

These calls have frequencies above those of sounds audible to humans and many other animals.

The researchers used special equipment to record an observe offspring of house mice caught at three locations in Ganserndorf, Austria.

When males got a whiff of scent from available, non-related, adult females, they sang their hearts out at varying degrees.

Females were more attracted to songs crooned by unfamiliar males that weren’t related to them.

Women sometimes flirt by pushing back their hair. Female mice do something similar by cleaning themselves vigorously all over.

“Individuals self-groom more in the presence of an odour of a highly receptive potential mate than that of a less receptive mate. Self-grooming may be associated with olfactory communication between groomers,” explained Musolf.

Females produce ultrasonic vocalizations too, “but only in a female-female context.”

These different calls help them to distinguish familiar individuals from strangers.

The research could lead to treatments for autism, since communication skills differ for mice as they do for humans.

The study has been accepted for publication in the journal Animal Behavior. (ANI)

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