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Whole-day follows of striped mice (Rhabdomys pumilio), a diurnal murid rodent


Schradin, C (2006). Whole-day follows of striped mice (Rhabdomys pumilio), a diurnal murid rodent. Journal of Ethology, 24(1):37-43.

Abstract

Understanding mammal social systems and behaviour can best be achieved through observations of individuals in their natural habitat. This can often be achieved for large mammals, but indirect methods have usually been employed for small mammals. I performed observations of the striped mouse (Rhabdomys pumilio)during the breeding season in the succulent karoo, a desert of South Africa. The open habitat and the diurnal habit of striped mice, together with the use of radio-telemetry, made it possible to collect data on activity patterns and social interactions over an entire activity period (whole-day follow). The striped mouse in the succulent karoo has been reported to form groups of one breeding male, two to four breeding females, juvenile and adult offspring of both sexes, and several litters. Accordingly, daily range size did not differ between males and females, but females spent more time foraging whereas males spent more time patrolling territory boundaries. Captive R. pumilio display biparental care, and in this study both sexes visited the nesting site during the day, possibly engaging in parental care. Mice travelled more than 900 m/day, mainly during the morning and afternoon, and rested in bushes during the hottest times of the day.

Understanding mammal social systems and behaviour can best be achieved through observations of individuals in their natural habitat. This can often be achieved for large mammals, but indirect methods have usually been employed for small mammals. I performed observations of the striped mouse (Rhabdomys pumilio)during the breeding season in the succulent karoo, a desert of South Africa. The open habitat and the diurnal habit of striped mice, together with the use of radio-telemetry, made it possible to collect data on activity patterns and social interactions over an entire activity period (whole-day follow). The striped mouse in the succulent karoo has been reported to form groups of one breeding male, two to four breeding females, juvenile and adult offspring of both sexes, and several litters. Accordingly, daily range size did not differ between males and females, but females spent more time foraging whereas males spent more time patrolling territory boundaries. Captive R. pumilio display biparental care, and in this study both sexes visited the nesting site during the day, possibly engaging in parental care. Mice travelled more than 900 m/day, mainly during the morning and afternoon, and rested in bushes during the hottest times of the day.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
590 Animals (Zoology)
Language:English
Date:2006
Deposited On:11 Feb 2008 12:16
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 12:14
Publisher:Springer
ISSN:0289-0771
Publisher DOI:10.1007/s10164-005-0158-2
Permanent URL: http://doi.org/10.5167/uzh-568

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