Ultrasonic Vocalizations Emitted by Flying Squirrels
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Anecdotal reports of ultrasound use by flying squirrels have existed for decades, yet there has been little detailed analysis of their vocalizations. Here we demonstrate that two species of flying squirrel emit ultrasonic vocalizations. We recorded vocalizations from northern (Glaucomys sabrinus) and southern (G. volans) flying squirrels calling in both the laboratory and at a field site in central Ontario, Canada. We demonstrate that flying squirrels produce ultrasonic emissions through recorded bursts of broadband noise and time-frequency structured frequency modulated (FM) vocalizations, some of which were purely ultrasonic. Squirrels emitted three types of ultrasonic calls in laboratory recordings and one type in the field. The variety of signals that were recorded suggest that flying squirrels may use ultrasonic vocalizations to transfer information. Thus, vocalizations may be an important, although still poorly understood, aspect of flying squirrel social biology.
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