The acoustic communication of three species of social voles from the subgenus Sumeriomys – Microtus socialis (two subspecies: M. s. socialis and M. s. goriensis), M. paradoxus and M. hartingi – are described. Vole sound communication includes two main signals: squeaks and singing. The sounds made by M. hartingi have significantly higher frequency parameters than those of other species. Voles of all species squeak in situations of distress, and the males sing during courtship of the females. However, singing in social voles is not a necessary pattern for sexual behaviour: less than half of M. s. socialis and M. paradoxus males sang, M. hartingi sang even more rarely and M. s. goriensis did not demonstrate this behaviour at all. Despite the great similarity of the squeaks, its parameters differ significantly between species and differ from those of the common voles. This introduces one more argument that M. paradoxus and M. socialis are independent species, as are the subgenera Sumeriomys and Microtus.
Rodents, Arvicolinae, vocal repertoire, vocal behaviour, social voles, Microtus