Courtesy Twin Cities NaturalistIt may not feel like it but rest assured, this is December. Check out this week's Phenology Roundup where professional naturalist Kirk Mona of Twin Cities Naturalist discusses what was seen around the Twin Cities area in the past week.
Phenology is the science of the seasons. It looks at how and when nature changes according to seasonal climatic conditions.
A while back I blogged about the Preble’s meadow jumping mouse and its possible removal from the endangered species list. The designation would play a role in the development that could take place in the mouse's habitat. Well, the little fellow is in the news again, with the designation of wildlife areas as critical habitat for the Preble’s meadow jumping mouse. Good luck little fella!
Researchers at Washington University in St. Louis have discovered that mice sing.
Scientists already knew that mice make ultrasonic sounds-squeaks that are too high-pitched for us to hear without special equipment. But these scientists used microphones and computer software to study the squeaks of 45 male mice.
The researchers separated the squeaks into types of syllables based on how quickly the pitch rose or fell. The mice "sang" about 10 syllables per second. And almost all of the mice repeated sequences of syllables in clear patterns. None of the mice are Marvin Gaye, exactly, but their noises meet the scientific definition of song. (People, birds, whales, and some insects do the same thing.)
Researchers still have to figure out WHY the mice sing. Because the mice sang in response to pheremones-chemicals that transmit messages between animals of the same species-one guess is that male mice sing to impress females.