To understand the mechanisms underlying displacement (the shift from nocturnal to diurnal activity), in one of the two coexisting spiny mice (genus Acomys), the effect of chemical cues released by A. cahirinus on the time of activity of A. russatus was tested Six golden spiny mice (A. russatus), which prior to the experiments were kept separate from common spiny mice (A. cahirinus), showed nocturnal activity. They were exposed to chemical cues from the urine and faeces of conspecific and heterospecific mice of the opposite sex. The onset of activity in these mice was recorded. While the urine and faeces of conspecific mice did not have a significant effect on the time of onset of activity, heterospecific urine and faeces did cause a significant (p < 0.001) time shift and, a day after they were introduced, activity started 6.8 ± 1.9 h earlier. This shift also took place on the second day. The results of this study suggest that the mechanism for displacement of A. russatus from nocturnal activity is by chemical signals released by A. cahirinus. Therefore, it may be concluded that chemical cues maintain time separation between these two species.
- Chemical signals
- Temporal segregation
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
- Behavioral Neuroscience