Behavior in Various Odor Fields in the Spiny Mice Acomys Cahirinus and Acomys Russatus
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Individually maintained male spiny mice, Acomys cahirinus and Acomys russatus, were observed singly in each of four different odor fields. (1) own 2-week-used gravel and rock. (2) conspecific 2-week-used gravel and rock. (3) heterospecific 2-week-used gravel and rock; and '··(4) unused gravel and rock. Behavior and quadrant choices were noted with an event recorder. Although both species showed strong preferences for the rock-containing quadrant, a.cahirinus displayed differences by condition in time spent in the rock quadrant, indicating an ability to discriminate the four odor fields, while A.russatus showed no such discrimination of odor fields in the choice of the rock quadrant, indicating this choice was made either visually or tactually. Acomys cahirinus locomoted most when in a heterospecific odor field, ,and sat on the rock least in an unused odor field. Conversely, A.russatus sat on the . rock most when in an unused odor field, and in general showed differential behavior only between the unused and all other. odor fields. These results suggest a limited use of olfaction in the diurnal A.russatus, such that only "mouse" / "no mouse" odor fields can be discriminated. The superior olfactory ability of A.cahirinus, combined with an apparent greater ability to cope with the (olfactory) presence of conspecifics and heterospecifics, may account for the ability of this species to "hold" the nocturnal activity cycle in a competition with A.russatus for this preferred desert activity cycle.