Zaytseva, A. S., Volodin, I. A., Ilchenko, O. G. et al. 2019. Ultrasonic vocalization of pup and adult fat-tailed gerbils (Pachyuromys duprasi). PLOS ONE 14(7), e0219749.

Ultrasonic vocalizations (USVs) of laboratory rodents indicate animal emotional arousal and may serve as models of human disorders. We analysed spectrographically USV calls of pup and adult fat-tailed gerbils Pachyuromys duprasi during 420-s tests, including isolation, touch and handling. Based on combination of six different USV syllable contour shapes and six different note compositions, we classified 782 USV syllables of 24 pups aged 5–10 days to 18 types and 232 syllables of 7 adults to 24 types. Pups and adults shared 16 of these 26 USV types. Percentages of USV syllables with certain contour shapes differed between pups and adults. The contour shape and note composition significantly affected most acoustic variables of USV syllables in either pups or adults. The 1-note USV syllables were most common in either pups or adults. Pup USV syllables were overall longer and higher-frequency than adult ones, reminiscent of the USV ontogenetic pathway of bats and distinctive to rats and mice. We discuss that the USV syllable types of fat-tailed gerbils were generally similar in contour shapes and note compositions with USV syllable types of mice and rats, what means that software developed for automated classifying of mice ultrasound might be easily adapted or re-tuned to gerbil USV calls. However, using fat-tailed gerbils as model for biomedical research including control of USV vocalization is only possible since 6th day of pup life, because of the delayed emergence of USV calls in ontogeny of this species.

Animal Type