The influence of social context on pinyon mouse (Peromyscus truei) vocalizations

Anastasiya Kobrina, Mariah E. Letowt, Bret Pasch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Mice in the diverse genus Peromyscus are emerging as important models in the study of acoustic communication. However, reports on vocal repertoires exist for only 8 of the 56 currently recognized species. Descriptions of acoustic content and context are necessary to facilitate comparative studies. In this study, we present the first recordings of wild-captured pinyon mice (Peromyscus truei) in the laboratory in different social contexts. Similar to other Peromyscus species, pinyon mice produced four general types of vocalizations, including sustained vocalizations (SVs), barks, simple sweeps, and complex sweeps. SVs were produced primarily by females in social isolation, highlighting the potential significance of SVs in female advertisement behavior. While agonistic barks were rare, simple and complex sweeps were reliably produced in response to olfactory cues from same- and opposite-sex mice, and in paired contexts. Opposite-sex pairs produced significantly more complex sweeps than same-sex pairs, consistent with the well-supported function of sweeps in coordinating close-distance interactions. In addition, females produced sweeps with lower peak frequencies following separation from their social partner, indicative of a sex-specific mechanism to facilitate advertisement to potential mates and competitors. Together, our findings highlight the importance of social context in rodent vocal production, the significance of female vocal behavior, and the continued need to sample understudied species to better understand similarities and differences in rodent communication systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)275-286
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Mammalogy
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 2022


  • Peromyscus
  • Peromyscus
  • acoustic communication
  • comunicación acústica
  • diferencias sexuales
  • female vocalizations
  • pinyon mice
  • ratones piñoneros
  • sex differences
  • vocalizaciones de hembras

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecology
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Genetics
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation


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