Hearing and vocalizations in the naked mole-rat


  • A.J. Barker
  • U. Koch
  • G.R. Lewin
  • S.J. Pyott


  • Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology


  • Adv Exp Med Biol 1319 (1319): 157-195


  • Since their discovery, naked mole-rats have been speaking to us. Early field studies noted their extensive vocalizations, and scientists who are fortunate enough to spend time with these creatures in the laboratory setting cannot help but notice their constant peeping, chirruping and grunting (Hill et al., Proc Zool Soc Lond 128:455-514, 1957). Yet, few dwell on the function of these chirps and peeps, being instead drawn to the many other extraordinary aspects of naked mole-rat physiology detailed throughout this book. Still, no biology is complete without a description of how an organism communicates. While the field of naked mole-rat bioacoustics and acoustic communication has been largely silent for many years, we highlight recent progress in understanding how and what Heterocephalus glaber hears and which vocalizations it uses. These efforts are essential for a complete understanding of naked mole-rat cooperation, society and even culture.