Research Highlights | Published:

Animal behaviour

Onlookers boost mouse chatter

Nature volume 534, page 9 (02 June 2016) | Download Citation


Male mice communicate more in front of an audience than when they are alone.

Mice live in large social groups and communicate using ultrasonic frequencies. To learn how this social environment influences their vocalizations, Roian Egnor of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute's Janelia Research Campus in Ashburn, Virginia, and her colleagues exposed male mice in the lab to a female odour. They then compared vocal responses from animals that were alone to those that were in the presence of another male. Males that had an audience produced vocalizations that were longer and more complex than those from solo males.

The male mice could be communicating to other males to compete for mates, the authors suggest.

About this article

Publication history





    By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.

    Newsletter Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing