Although ultrasonic vocalizations (USVs) have been recorded in many species of rodent and in various contexts, e.g. sexual behaviour and aggression, it has not been demonstrated for the endangered Turkish Spiny Mouse Acomys cilicius Spitzenberger. This study investigated whether A. cilicius emits USVs and, if so, how these USVs associated with non-vocalization behaviour. Ultrasonic recording equipment was set up for 12 days in an off-exhibit enclosure of A. cilicius at Bristol Zoo. At least seven different types of USV were recorded. For eight of the 12 study days, ultrasonic and video recording equipment were run concurrently. From these observations it was found that emission of USVs were associated with sexual behaviour, aggression and social investigation. The results of this study show for the first time that captive A. cilicius produce USVs that resemble those produced by other rodent species, including its close relative the Egyptian Spiny Mouse A. cahirinus Desmarest. As these findings apply only to a captive Turkish Spiny Mouse population, additional work should be carried out to investigate the behaviour and USV production in the wild in addition to further research on captive populations investigating the apparent communicative function of these vocalizations.
Turkish Spiny Mouse, ultrasonic vocalization, communication, behaviour, conservation