Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

It Started With A Squeak: Moonlight Serenade Helps Lemurs Pick Mates Of The Right Species

Date:
May 14, 2008
Source:
BioMed Central
Summary:
Some Malagasy mouse lemurs are so similar that picking a mate of the right species, especially at night time in a tropical forest, might seem like a matter of pot luck. However, new research has shown that our desperately cute distant cousins use vocalizations to pick up a partner of the right species.

Micocebus murinus on the lookout for a mate.
Credit: Tiho Hannover

Lonely hearts columns testify that finding a partner can be hard enough, but at least most human beings can be fairly certain that when we do we have got one of the right species. Things aren't so simple for all animals. Some Malagasy mouse lemurs are so similar that picking a mate of the right species, especially at night time in a tropical forest, might seem like a matter of pot luck. However, new research in BioMed Central's journal BMC Biology has shown that our desperately cute distant cousins use vocalisations to pick up a partner of the right species.

Until recently, grey, golden brown, and Goodman's mouse lemurs were all thought to be the same species. But genetic testing revealed that they are, in fact, three distinct, species so similar that they cannot be told apart by their appearance--so called cryptic species. "A fundamental problem for cryptic species that live in the same area and habitat is the coordination of reproduction and discrimination between potential mates of the same species and remarkably similar individuals of other species" say Pia Braune and colleagues from the Institute of Zoology, University of Veterinary Medicine, Hannover University.

Males of these nocturnal species use advertising calls to let females know that they are looking for love. The researchers recorded advertising calls from the three species and then played them back to grey mouse lemurs, noting what response, if any, they made. "Grey mouse lemurs reacted more to calls from other grey mouse lemurs than to those of either other species", say the researchers. Furthermore, the grey mouse lemurs seemed to ignore the calls of golden brown mouse lemurs, which live in the same area and habitat to them, but show some interest in the calls of Goodman's mouse lemur, which they would never normally meet. "The importance of vocalisation in attracting mates is well known for frogs and birds", explain the authors, "but this is the first evidence for species-specific call divergence in the communication of cryptic primate species with overlapping ranges."

The lemurs' moonlight serenades help to ensure that individuals of one species don't waste time trying to mate with those of another, which would produce either no offspring or infertile hybrids. Indeed, the possibility of grey and golden-brown mouse lemurs encountering each other might explain the difference in calls and responses, according to Braune: "our data support the evolutionary hypothesis that species cohesiveness has led to divergence in signalling and recognition to avoid costly hybridisation."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by BioMed Central. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Pia Braune, Sabine Schmidt, Elke Zimmermann. Acoustic divergence in the communication of cryptic species of nocturnal primates (Microcebus ssp.). BMC Biology, 2008; 6 (1): 19 DOI: 10.1186/1741-7007-6-19

Cite This Page:

BioMed Central. "It Started With A Squeak: Moonlight Serenade Helps Lemurs Pick Mates Of The Right Species." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 14 May 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/05/080507084005.htm>.
BioMed Central. (2008, May 14). It Started With A Squeak: Moonlight Serenade Helps Lemurs Pick Mates Of The Right Species. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 19, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/05/080507084005.htm
BioMed Central. "It Started With A Squeak: Moonlight Serenade Helps Lemurs Pick Mates Of The Right Species." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/05/080507084005.htm (accessed April 19, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Vermont Goat Meat Gives Refugees Taste of Home

Vermont Goat Meat Gives Refugees Taste of Home

AP (Apr. 18, 2014) Dairy farmers and ethnic groups in Vermont are both benefiting from a unique collaborative effort that's feeding a growing need for fresh and affordable goat meat. (April 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
First Ever 'Female Penis' Discovered In Animal Kingdom

First Ever 'Female Penis' Discovered In Animal Kingdom

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) Not only are these newly discovered bugs' sex organs reversed, but they also mate for up to 70 hours. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Little Progress Made In Fighting Food Poisoning, CDC Says

Little Progress Made In Fighting Food Poisoning, CDC Says

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) A new report shows rates of two foodborne infections increased in the U.S. in recent years, while salmonella actually dropped 9 percent. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Great British Farmland Boom

The Great British Farmland Boom

Reuters - Business Video Online (Apr. 17, 2014) Britain's troubled Co-operative Group is preparing to cash in on nearly 18,000 acres of farmland in one of the biggest UK land sales in decades. As Ivor Bennett reports, the market timing couldn't be better, with farmland prices soaring over 270 percent in the last 10 years. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins