Stiftung Tierärztliche Hochschule Hannover (TiHo)TiHo eLib

First insights into the vocal repertoire of Etruscan shrews

To coordinate social interactions animals emit different call types in different contexts. One species whose vocal repertoire has not been described are the Etruscan shrews, the smallest extant mammal. We conducted 47 confrontation experiments between 33 Etruscan shrews, with the confronting dyads differing in sex, familiarity and housing condition. The acoustic parameters of the vocalisations were used in a two-level unsupervised cluster analysis applying hard and soft clustering approaches. A behavioural context analysis was also carried out. Four call types (screech, screams, chirp, very short tonal) and a transition between the screech and the scream were described. The chirps and the very short tonal were mainly observed during socio-positive behaviour, while the screeches, the screams and their transitions were emitted during agonistic interactions. To conclude, this study delivered a first insight into the vocal repertoire of Etruscan shrews with additional research required.

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