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The behavioural response of mice to predator odours
Linköping University, Department of Physics, Chemistry and Biology, Biology. Linköping University, The Institute of Technology.
2012 (English)Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10,5 credits / 16 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

The ability to detect and react to a predator odour is crucial for prey species. In the present study 10 mice (Mus musculus) were used to test the behavioural response of mice towards two predator odours (3-methyl-1-butanethiol and 3-mercapto-3-methyl-butan-1-ol) and one fruity odour (n-pentyl acetate). All three odours were tested against a near odourless blank stimulus (diethyl phthalate). The animals were individually placed in a test chamber of two equally sized compartments divided by a vertical Plexiglas wall with a semicircular opening. Their proximity to the odours, placed beneath the floor in petri dishes in each compartment, was measured continuously with stop watches. The mice spent less time in proximity to 3-methyl-1-butanethiol and n-pentyl acetate compared to diethyl phthalate (P<0,05). The mice did not prefer any specific compartment in the test with 3-mercapto-3-methyl-butan-1-ol compared to diethyl phthalate (P>0,05). The avoidance of 3-methyl-1-butanethiol and n-pentyl acetate can be explained either by neophobia, or in the case of 3-methyl-1-butanethiol that it contains sulphur. The lack of behavioural response towards 3-mercapto-3-methyl-butan-1-ol may be due to its loss of intensity over time. From this study it is not certain if mice have an innate fear of predator odours.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2012. , 15 p.
Keyword [en]
Predator odour, prey speceis, neophobia, habituation
National Category
Behavioral Sciences Biology
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-79068ISRN: LiTH-IFM- Ex--12/2655--SEOAI: diva2:538095
Subject / course
Life Earth Science
Available from: 2012-08-07 Created: 2012-06-28 Last updated: 2012-08-07Bibliographically approved

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