Header

UZH-Logo

Maintenance Infos

Does a mouse have a friend? Mixed evidence for individual recognition in the African striped mouse (Rhabdomys pumilio)


Brunner, P; Schoepf, I; Yuen, C H; König, B; Schradin, C (2016). Does a mouse have a friend? Mixed evidence for individual recognition in the African striped mouse (Rhabdomys pumilio). Journal of Zoology, 299(2):142-149.

Abstract

Individual recognition, the ability to discriminate between members of a social group according to their distinctive characteristics, is a sophisticated form of social recognition. Several laboratory studies demonstrated individual recognition in rodents, but not under natural conditions. We combined behavioral observations and an experiment to assess individual recognition in free-living African striped mice Rhabdomys pumilio. Striped mice live in groups that share a nest, but forage alone during the day. Interactions among group members are typically amicable and take place at the nest. In order to determine whether striped mice have individualized relationships, we analyzed whether focal mice interacted repeatedly more often with one specific group member. Data from 58 focal individuals from 15 groups revealed that the individual with which amicable interactions occurred the most was often alone in one mode of the data distribution, indicating that behavior toward this specific individual differed compared to the behavior to all group members. Striped mice consistently preferred this specific individual during the following weeks. Preferred social partners of both breeders and younger non-breeders were young non-breeders. Sex-specific effects were obtained only for young adult males and breeding females, which both associated more often with the opposite sex. For 11 young adults from 11 groups, the preferred social partner was trapped and removed, either overnight (experiment) or only during the day (control), when striped mice forage solitarily and usually do not interact with group members. Striped mice interacted on average more with their preferred social partner after it returned in the experimental group compared to the control (7 of 11 experiments), but the difference was not significant (P = 0.16). Our study indicates that striped mice have individualized relationships, suggesting that individual recognition occurs under natural conditions, although they failed to significantly indicate individual recognition during experimental removals. Future studies will have to test the adaptive function of individualized relationships in African striped mice.

Abstract

Individual recognition, the ability to discriminate between members of a social group according to their distinctive characteristics, is a sophisticated form of social recognition. Several laboratory studies demonstrated individual recognition in rodents, but not under natural conditions. We combined behavioral observations and an experiment to assess individual recognition in free-living African striped mice Rhabdomys pumilio. Striped mice live in groups that share a nest, but forage alone during the day. Interactions among group members are typically amicable and take place at the nest. In order to determine whether striped mice have individualized relationships, we analyzed whether focal mice interacted repeatedly more often with one specific group member. Data from 58 focal individuals from 15 groups revealed that the individual with which amicable interactions occurred the most was often alone in one mode of the data distribution, indicating that behavior toward this specific individual differed compared to the behavior to all group members. Striped mice consistently preferred this specific individual during the following weeks. Preferred social partners of both breeders and younger non-breeders were young non-breeders. Sex-specific effects were obtained only for young adult males and breeding females, which both associated more often with the opposite sex. For 11 young adults from 11 groups, the preferred social partner was trapped and removed, either overnight (experiment) or only during the day (control), when striped mice forage solitarily and usually do not interact with group members. Striped mice interacted on average more with their preferred social partner after it returned in the experimental group compared to the control (7 of 11 experiments), but the difference was not significant (P = 0.16). Our study indicates that striped mice have individualized relationships, suggesting that individual recognition occurs under natural conditions, although they failed to significantly indicate individual recognition during experimental removals. Future studies will have to test the adaptive function of individualized relationships in African striped mice.

Statistics

Citations

Dimensions.ai Metrics
1 citation in Web of Science®
2 citations in Scopus®
Google Scholar™

Altmetrics

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:1 June 2016
Deposited On:22 Nov 2018 14:10
Last Modified:23 Nov 2018 08:31
Publisher:Wiley-Blackwell Publishing, Inc.
ISSN:0952-8369
OA Status:Closed
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1111/jzo.12333

Download

Full text not available from this repository.
View at publisher

Get full-text in a library