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On the ground and in the heights: Does exploratory activity differ in commensal and non-commensal spiny mice?

Authors
  • Štolhoferová, Iveta1
  • Holubová, Kristína2
  • Vobrubová, Barbora3
  • Kaftanová, Barbora4
  • Frynta, Daniel5
  • 1 Department of Zoology, Faculty of Science, Charles University, Vinicna 7, 128 43 Prague 2, Czech Republic. Electronic address: [email protected] , (Czechia)
  • 2 National Institute of Mental Health, Topolova 748, 250 67 Klecany, Czech Republic. Electronic address: [email protected] , (Czechia)
  • 3 Department of Zoology, Faculty of Science, Charles University, Vinicna 7, 128 43 Prague 2, Czech Republic; National Institute of Mental Health, Topolova 748, 250 67 Klecany, Czech Republic. Electronic address: [email protected] , (Czechia)
  • 4 Department of Zoology, Faculty of Science, Charles University, Vinicna 7, 128 43 Prague 2, Czech Republic; National Institute of Mental Health, Topolova 748, 250 67 Klecany, Czech Republic. Electronic address: [email protected] , (Czechia)
  • 5 Department of Zoology, Faculty of Science, Charles University, Vinicna 7, 128 43 Prague 2, Czech Republic. Electronic address: [email protected] , (Czechia)
Type
Published Article
Journal
Behavioural processes
Publication Date
Nov 01, 2020
Volume
180
Pages
104252–104252
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1016/j.beproc.2020.104252
PMID: 32956755
Source
Medline
Keywords
Language
English
License
Unknown

Abstract

Human settlements represent a specific environment where commensal animals are exposed to different selective pressures than their wild-living conspecifics. Despite the importance of commensal rodents for human health and economy, little is known about how a transition to a commensal way of life changes the behaviour of the animals. We tested twelve populations of spiny mice (Acomys spp.) in two open field-type tests - a vertical test and a hole board test. In the vertical test, a wire mesh for climbing was offered to spiny mice. We used a multipopulation approach using two commensal and ten non-commensal spiny mouse populations to account for inter-population variability. We aimed to investigate whether there are differences in behaviour of commensal and non-commensal populations with special regard to their exploratory activity both on the ground and on the wire mesh. We found that all non-commensal populations behaved similarly despite their long separate evolutionary histories. Contrary, the commensal populations were less exploratory on the ground in both tests. We concluded that this change was associated with their transition to commensalism. This shows that selective pressures of the commensal environment are able to induce noticeable changes in behaviour after a very short evolutionary time. Copyright © 2020. Published by Elsevier B.V.

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