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Individual differences in the biological odors of the mongolian gerbil (Meriones unguiculatus)

Authors
Journal
Behavioral Biology
0091-6773
Publisher
Elsevier
Publication Date
Volume
11
Issue
2
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1016/s0091-6773(74)90449-0
Disciplines
  • Biology

Abstract

A habituation-preference testing situation was employed in order to determine if 32 intact adult male Mongolian gerbils ( Meriones unguiculatus) could detect individual differences in the biological odors from 31 intact male conspecifics. Results demonstrated that there exist individual differences in the biological odors of Mongolian gerbils in the case of ventral gland secretions, urine, and gerbil-soiled shavings, and also that conspecifics are capable of discriminating these differences. There was no evidence for the discrimination of individual differences in the odors of fresh fecal pellets. These results provide a basis for hypothesizing that one important function for the biological odors of Mongolian gerbils may be individual identification, and that approach-avoidance responses to odors may have to be learned and may depend on previous positive or negative experiences with the individual producing any one odor.

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