Acta Theriologica

, Volume 48, Issue 2, pp 167–176 | Cite as

Recognition of interspecific familiar versus unfamiliar odours among bank voles and yellow-necked mice

  • Rafał Łopucki
  • Przemysław Szymroszczyk


Two experiments (laboratory and field-laboratory) were designed to determine whether individual bank volesClethrionomys glareolus (Schreber, 1780) and yellow--necked miceApodemus flavicollis (Melchior, 1834) could distinguish heterospecific odour cues from familiar and unfamiliar individuals. In the laboratory experiment each male bank vole was familiarized for 24 h with odour (cotton wool impregnated with urine and faeces) of male yellow-necked mice and yellow-necked mice were familiarized with odour of male bank voles. In the field-laboratory experiment the individual bank voles and yellow-necked mice captured at the same point were considered familiar and transfered to the laboratory. In laboratory, these individuals were tested in a box (for 5 h) affording them the choice between the odours of familiar and unfamiliar heterospecific males. Bank voles discriminated between familiar and unfamiliar yellow--necked mouse odours. Male yellow-necked mice seemed to have a similar ability to recognise odours of familiar bank voles. It is proposed that interactions between these two species occur not only on the species level, but also on the level of individual. This phenomenon (probably asymmetric) can play an important role in spatial orientation, and influence direct contacts between individuals of these species.

Key words

Apodemus flavicollis Clethrionomys glareolus recognition of individuals odour communication familiarity 


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Copyright information

© Mammal Research Institute, Bialowieza, Poland 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Catholic University of LublinLublinPoland

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