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Position: Adjunct Professor of Ethology. College of Sciences.
November 29, 1959.
Academic Studies:

Biological Sciences License, Facultad de Humanidades y Ciencias. Montevideo, Uruguay (1983).

D.E.A. in Animal Sociology, René Descartes University, Paris V. Paris, France (1984).

PhD in Biological Sciences, PEDECIBA - Facultad de Ciencias. Montevideo, Uruguay (1998).


Ethology of communication in upper vertebrates. Actually centered in the study of the acoustic communication system of the "tucu-tucus" (genus Ctenomys; Rodentia, Octodontidae), subterranean rodents autochthonous of South America.
Communication during courtship in wandering spiders. Actually centered in the study of the segregation of behavioural characters linked to courtship signals in hybrids of Lycosa thorelli and Lycosa carbonelli (Araneae, Lycosidae).

Recent publications

tucu.jpgThe "tucu-tucus" (genus Ctenomys) are subterranean rodents autochthonous of the center-south of South America. Almost all known species are solitary and aggressive, living in individual burrow systems except when they go uot to forage or during the reproductive season when males and females or females and pups live together during short periods.
To avoid unplanned encounters and the consequent aggressions, "tucu-tucus" must use a long-distance communication system to warn conspecifics. One of the forms employed by them, probably the most important, is the use of vocal signals.
tuc.gif Their more common sounds are those that we named "S Type" sounds (see their sonagram at right). (if you want to listen to the sound please clickhere)
This repetitive, highly structured and low pitched type of sound is the responsible for the common name of the species in Uruguay. Its function would be the territorial warning, keeping separate the different burrow systems from one another, and probably also the spatial localization of individuals on the same population.
Other important signals in Ctenomys repertoire are "C Type" sounds. This sounds are emitted by the female, alerting a male in her burrow about her sexual receptivity.
cnotas.gif The sonagrams of the 5 subtypes of C signals are showed at the left. These signals are usually followed by the male's mounting attempts and by its acceptation by the female and, they probably substitutes the use of "lordosis" as a signal in the obscure burrows.To listen to these sounds please click here.
The last example of this sound repertoire are "RN Type" signals. These are emitted by newborn pups, and their sonagram is showed at right. crias3.gif These sounds are produced when pups (exploring the tunnels) goes away from the nest and triggers the searching and recovering behaviour of the female. To listen to these sounds please click here.
Is interesting to note that these "chevron" (ascending-descending) sounds produce a wide spectrum of frequencies that surely increase the localization possibilities of the female.


The studies of the courtship in hybrids of two wandering spider species (Lycosa thorelli and Lycosa carbonelli) begun in 1986 in collaboration with Fernando G. Costa and Carmen Viera. These studies were done through the use of interspecific forced copulations to allow the knowledge of the sexual isolating mechanisms acting at that level and after the copulations, the obtention of hybrids.
After the breeding of the hybrid spiderlings and their parental controls, experiments on courtship were undertaken to study the segregation of the sexual signal characters present in the parental species. Nevertheless, these studies established that the differences between parental courtship strategies lay chiefly on the RHYTHM and, that this difference produces substantial differences in the signalling speed of males and the interpretation speed of females. These data have allowed us to hypothesize about the evolutionary origin of these differences, that could be linked to a microhabitat difference between these sibling species.


MSc. Thesis Tutor for Rosina Verónica Quirici [“Seismic communication during courtship in two burrowing tarantula spiders: an experimental study on Eupalaestrus weijenberghi and Acanthoscurria suina”]. PEDECIBA Biology (Zoology), Uruguay. 2002-2005.

MSc. Thesis Tutor for Graciela Izquierdo ["Cooperative breeding in the colonial tucu-tucu Ctenomys sociabilis (Rodentia, Ctenomyidae): Effect of group size"]. PEDECIBA Biology (Zoology), Uruguay. 2000- 2005.

MSc. Thesis Tutor for Mónica Rumbo. PEDECIBA Biology (Zoology), Uruguay. 2005- .

MSc. Thesis Tutor for Verónica Ventura. PEDECIBA Biology (Zoology), Uruguay. 2005- .

 PhD. Thesis Co-Director for Cristian Schleich [“Vocal communication in Ctenomys talarum (Caviomorpha: Octodontidae)”]. Universidad de Mar del Plata, Argentina. 1999-2004.

The information showed here, including sonagrams and sound archives, could be used freely for scientific or educational purposes by appropiately citing the source. In case of using this information, please prevent me by e-mail citing the paper or web page where the data will be displayed.

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Page created and maintained by: Gabriel Francescoli

Updated: 20/09/2005