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On the Social Behavior in a Stable Group of Long-Tailed Field Mice (Apodemus Sylvaticus). Ii. Its Relations With Distribution of Daily Activity

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image of Behaviour

A group of three or four long-tailed field mice (Apodemus sylvaticus) living in a large terrarium was observed for three consecutive months. A comparative analysis of their social behavior and temporal distribution of activity shows that there was a simple direct correlation between the number of encounters and the amount of time two or more mice spent together at the surface of the terrarium. It also shows an alternation of social and asocial periods, each of those lasting one or several weeks. In a social period, encounters were frequent, the mice spent much time together and were rarely seen to be active alone. The individual activity patterns were concordant, which contributed to the high amounts of simultaneous activity and of encounters. But in an asocial period, encounters were scarce, little time was spent together and solitary mice were often seen; the socially top ranking animal restricted its activity to certain times of the day and the three other mice to other times of the day, which contributed to the low amount of simultaneous activity and to the low frequency of encounters.

Affiliations: 1: Institut de biologie animale et de zoologie, Université de Lausanne, Switzerland


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