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Evidence for echolocation in the Tenrecidae of Madagascar

Evidence for echolocation in the Tenrecidae of Madagascar

Proc Amer Phil Soc 109(6): 352-360

Three genera of tenrecs in 2 subfamilies learned to search the rim of an elevated disc and to find and jump down onto a platform without the use of visual, olfactory, kinesthetic, or tactile senses. The ability of Hemicentetes to detect the platform was completely or partially impaired when their ears were plugged. As a tenrec searched the rim of the disc, it emitted tongue clicks of short duration having frequencies between 5,000 and 17,000 cps. and lasting for 0.1 to 3.6 msec. Tenrecs produce tongue clicks while exploring strange places or fleeing, and in one arboreal type, while climbing along slender branches of shrubbery. Sounds produced by a highly specialized organ on the back of Hemicentetes and Centetes are described. It is a noisy pulse having frequencies between 2 kc./sec. and 70 kc./sec. The sound may not be related to echolocation but more likely to communication and to the social habit of these animals.

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Accession: 022602217

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DOI: 10.2307/986137

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