Behaviour 2019
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Ultrasonic emissions of shrews in a novel environment and the possible role of echo-ranging  
Margaret Gleason, Valerie Eddington, Laura Kloepper. Saint Mary's College, Notre Dame, IN, United States

Echolocation has been extensively studied in mammals, especially bats and dolphins, yet it is still unknown if shrews use echolocation as a sensing mechanism. Shrews have poor eyesight, acute hearing, and live in a complex environment with low light. In this study, we investigated the acoustic behavior of B. brevicauda as it was placed in a novel environment. The goal of this study is to see if there is a relationship between shrew behavior and vocalizations and if shrews use ultrasonic vocalizations when scanning their environment. Four shrews were captured and recorded under infrared light using synchronized video and ultrasonic acoustic recordings. We measured the intercall intervals and corresponding behavior for four shrews. Measurements of call characteristics for over 700 calls across the four shrews were taken using Raven audio analysis software. Statistical analysis of the call characteristics of the highest quality broadband calls with sound-to-noise ratios above 15 decibels were performed. We present on the ultrasonic vocalizations of shrews and the corresponding behavior that suggests the possible use of echo-orientation.