Singing mice serenade mates with romantic tunes

By Trisha Chowdhury

If you thought that only birds sing to attract their mates, think again. Researchers have discovered that male house mice sing melodic and romantic tunes to attract females. The research has been published in the journals Physiology & Behaviour and the Journal of Ethology.

The squeaks of the mice were first recorded and then slowed down by the researchers. The recordings were analysed and it was deduced that the squeaks are, in reality, complex individual, romantic songs to attract female mates.

The most astonishing fact was that the songs of the mice bore a striking resemblance to birdsong, where male birds sing tuneful songs to females of their species in order to attract them.

Previous studies showed that wild mice sing once they catch the whiff of a female scent. The female mice are then wooed and enticed by the song.

Probing further, the researchers found that each male mouse song contains a “fingerprint” that makes it stand out from the others. This discovery could help understand how female mice avoid inbreeding.

A researcher from Vienna’s University of Veterinary Medicine, Dustin Penn, summed up the research, saying, “It seems as though house mice might provide a new model organism for the study of song in animals. Who would have thought that?”


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