Do Any Animals Communicate With Ultrasonic Noises?

I remember reading an old sci-fi story called the “WHITE BOX”. The story was of an inventor who builds a machine that translates extremely high frequency sounds (like 20,000-100,00 Hz), into the human hearing range (which is about 100-12,000 Hz). He is shocked to discover that trees respons to being cut by emitting screams at these high frequencies…as do insects and animals.
I always remembered this…has anyone ever done any research on these lines? I know that bats use ultrasonic radar to ocate their insect prey, and dogs can hear up to 35,000 Hz…but are there any souns that we can’t hear that are particularly interesting? :cool:

Ground squirrels it would seem.

I’d imagine that there will be a number of insects that communicate with ultrasonic sound waves - certainly there are some crickets that are right up at the high end of the audible range.

Elephants use subsonic communication.

Well, you already know that bats and dogs do, and NurseCarmen mentioned that most of the sounds elephants make are below what we can here. A lot of the sounds whales make are also outside our hearing. A lot of people use those ultrasonic doohickies on the front of their cars to scare away deer, and they have ultrasonic mole repellants.

With our limited range of hearing, it turns out that we’re missing quite a lot. Some time ago I read an article comparing the range of human hearing with all of the available sounds (I think it was Discover or something). What I remember most vivdly is that eathquakes and thunderstorms emit a lot of very low frequency sound that we simply don’t hear. That may explain why some animals seem to sense an earhquake before it hits, since they can hear it before the shaking starts.

Plants making sounds seems like a bit of a stretch to me, though. I couldn’t begin to imagine how the vibratory mechanism would work.

I think you meant infrasonic. Subsonic sound is slower than sound. :smiley:

Have you ever seen an elephant go faster than the speed of sound?


So subsonic communication would be… what, anything that requires actually walking over to the creature being communicated to? :wink:

The post office is sub-**sub[\b]sonic communication.

Do bats actually communicate with each other, or are they just saying

"Is there a wall there?

How about now?

How about now?

Ooh, a bug! (gulp!)

How about now?

Auugh! Wall! TURN!!!"

Some people believe that trees and other plants ‘scream’ when they’re cut, but I don’t think any botanists take it seriously. The idea probably came from loggers, since a big tree creaks pretty loudly when it’s almost cut through and the remaining wood starts to tear apart. IIRC, ther have been previous threads on the topic.

Those gophers are tricky little beasts, aren’t they?

Hmm, The Golden Guide To Bats is unclear in the section on echolocation. It could mean that mothers identify their young through a sonar image or by recognizing their young’s cry. The section on reproduction says that mothers identify children by their calls. Between those two sections, I’m assuming young bats cry from mom ultrasonicly.

Mom- I’m ho-ome!


Mom-Too high


Mom-Too low


Mom- Too falsetto


Mom- There’s mommy’s precious batty!

Not necessarily. You could drive over to the creature being communicated to.

I did! The little b*****d was stealing my car! :slight_smile: