acta ethologica

, Volume 22, Issue 1, pp 29–38 | Cite as

Behavioral response of the endemic Martino’s vole Dinaromys bogdanovi (Martino 1922) to environmental complexity

  • Maša Ljuština
  • Lea Vidatić
  • Toni Safner
  • Igor Ivanek
  • Ivan Budinski
  • Maja Damjanović
  • Maja Lukač
  • Duje LisičićEmail author
Original Paper


The Martino’s vole (Dinaromys bogdanovi) is a rare species that lives in differently structured karst habitats, varying from open rocky plains to deep fissures, mostly residing under boulders and in crevices. Populations of the species are declining, probably due to its strict habitat preferences and competition with the European snow vole. Since the species is difficult to study in the wild, we tested its behavioral response to a differently complex environment and novel object presence in captivity. We exposed 14 individuals to differentially complex setups, from open and unsheltered to rocky with covered tunnels. We measured the effect of the presented setup and season on vole behavior. Analysis showed seasonal differences with higher movement frequency and longer time spent still during the breeding season, and a higher number of attempts due to the lack of vole entry into the experimental terrarium in the non-breeding season. Additionally, movement significantly differentiated between an open and simple setup in comparison to more complex ones, with higher frequencies of moving and peeping and the duration of peeping in the simple setup, indicating restlessness. We also found significant differences between the novel object and control setup. The results of this study could be useful for future assessment of the influence of habitat complexity on mobility in the wild. Moreover, this is the first study on the behavior of this endemic and rare rodent.


Behavioral study Captive research Environmental complexity Habitat specialist Novel object Martino’s vole 



We would like to thank the Zoological Garden of Zagreb for caring for the animals and for their generous support of this research. We would also like to thank students Matea Kovač, Lucija Ivić, and Marko Bračić for their contributions to this study. We thank Sofia Ana Blažević for her suggestions to improve the manuscript. We thank two anonymous reviewers for their comments that considerably improved the article.

Compliance with ethical standards

All applicable international, national, and institutional guidelines for the care and use of animals were followed.


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Copyright information

© ISPA, CRL 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Animal Physiology, Faculty of ScienceUniversity of ZagrebZagrebCroatia
  2. 2.Department of Plant Breeding, Genetics and Biometrics, Faculty of AgricultureUniversity of ZagrebZagrebCroatia
  3. 3.Zoological Garden of ZagrebZagrebCroatia
  4. 4.Association BIOMZagrebCroatia
  5. 5.Department of Poultry Diseases with Clinic, Faculty of Veterinary MedicineUniversity of ZagrebZagrebCroatia

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