Vocal Repertoire and Auditory Sensitivity of White-Throated Woodrats (Neotoma albigula)

Anastasiya Kobrina, Mariah E. Letowt, Bret Pasch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Rodents produce a variety of acoustic signals to communicate different types of information such as identity, reproductive state, or danger. The degree to which hearing sensitivity matches particular frequencies of conspecific vocalizations may provide insight into the relative importance of different acoustic signals. In this experiment, we characterized vocal and footdrumming behaviors of white-throated woodrats (Neotoma albigula) and measured their hearing sensitivity using the auditory brainstem response. Adult and juvenile woodrats produced seven categories of vocalizations, with six categories containing frequencies that overlap their peak hearing sensitivity. In addition, woodrats produced low-frequency footdrumming signals in the presence of same and opposite-sex social partners and in social isolation. Woodrats varied spectral and temporal characteristics of vocalizations based on social composition of the dyad. Woodrat audition spanned 1 to 42 kHz, with a broad range of best hearing sensitivity between 4 and 20 kHz. Compared to other rodents that primarily produce high-frequency vocalizations in social contexts, woodrat audition was more sensitive to low frequencies that typify their vocal repertoire. Our results suggest that the auditory system of white-throated woodrats is broadly tuned to detect behaviorally relevant acoustic signals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Comparative Psychology
StateAccepted/In press - 2022


  • Abrs
  • Auditory sensitivity
  • Footdrumming
  • Neotoma
  • Vocal repertoire

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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