Daily rhythms of metabolic rates: role of chemical signals in coexistence of spiny mice of the genus Acomys

Abraham Haim, Sasson Fluxman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The common spiny mouse Acomys cahirinus and the golden spiny mouse A. russatus coexist in the extreme arid and hot parts of the Arava Rift Valley in Israel. The coexistence of these two species is through exclusion of A. russatus from nocturnal activity by A. cahirinus, which is nocturnal. An attempt was made to study the daily activity rhythm response of A. russatus to chemical signals released by A. cahirinus, in order to understand the mechanism of segregation. For this purpose oxygen consumption, V̇O2, was studied in individuals of A. rassatus kept alone in a metabolic chamber in a constant ambient temperature of 32°C under two photoperiod regimes: 12L : 12D, and constant darkness (D:D). After three days of V̇O2 recording under these conditions, chemical signals released from A. cahirinus were passed through the metabolic chamber. This treatment caused a shift in the activity rhythm only of A. russatus kept at 12L:12D, white a decrease in V̇O2 rates of A. russatus was noted in both groups. These results suggest that chemical signals released by A. cahirinus may play a role in shifting A. russatus toward its diurnal activity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)223-229
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Chemical Ecology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1996
Externally publishedYes


  • Arid rodents
  • Chemical signals
  • Circadian rhythm
  • Coexistence
  • Metabolic rates
  • Oxygen consumption
  • Phase shift

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Biochemistry


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