Mice Respond Differently to Urine and Its Major Volatile Constituents from Male and Female Ferrets
- 191 Downloads
Our previous chemical investigation showed that the concentrations of urinary volatiles from males were much higher than those from females in the ferret (Mustela furo). The current study was designed to examine the behavioral significance and ecological relevance of this difference for one of the main prey of the ferret, the house mouse (Mus musculus). Our data showed that male mice displayed no difference in their response to raw male and female ferret urine. However, they showed significantly less response to female mouse urine mixed with ferret urine than to pure female mouse urine, and to female mouse urine mixed with male ferret urine than to female mouse urine mixed with female ferret urine. Furthermore, high levels of the three major volatiles (quinoline, 2,5-dimethylpyrazine, and 4-hepatanone) in male ferret urine were as effective as raw male ferret urine was in inhibiting the response of male mice. We discuss the ecological and behavioral significance of these findings in terms of chemical mimicry and cognitive feature extraction of predator odors in mice.
KeywordsMouse Ferret Urine Odor Pheromone Quinoline 2,5-Dimethylpyrazine 4-Heptanone Mimicry Predator Prey
We are grateful to Dr. Janne Sundell for valuable comments on our earlier draft. We are grateful to Drs. Sarah K. Woodley and Michael J. Baum who provided us with ferret urine. This research was supported by grants [No. DC 24180 to M.V. N] from the National Institute of Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, National Institute of Health (NIH), and US Department of Health and Human Services. The manuscript preparation and data processing were partially supported by the CAS Innovative Research International Partnership Project (CXTDS2005-4).
- Müller-Schwarze, D. 1995. Chemical repellents for beaver: New leads, pp. 479–484, in R. Apfelbach, D. Müller-Schwarze, K. Reutter, and E. Weiler (eds.). Advances in Biosciences, Vol 93: Chemical Signals in Vertebrates 7. Elsevier Science Ltd., Great Britain.Google Scholar
- Mason, J. R., Epple, G. and Nolte, D. L. 1994. Semiochemicals and improvements in rodent control. pp. 327–346, in B. E. Galef, M. Mainardi, and P. Valsecchi (eds.). Behavioral Aspects of Feeding: Basic and Applied Research in Mammals. Harwood Academic, Chur, Switzerland.Google Scholar
- Raymer, J. 1984. Investigations into the chemical nature of chemo-olfactory communication in the wolf (Canis lupus). PhD dissertation). Indiana University, Bloomington.Google Scholar
- Schildknecht, H. and Birkner, C. 1983. Struktur und Wirkung der Musteliden-Ökomone, III: Analyse der Analbeutelsekrete Mitteleuropa ischer Musteliden. Chemiker-Zeitung 107:267–270 (in German).Google Scholar
- Schildknecht, H., Stenuf, G. and Krauss, D. 1986. Structure and action of mammalian ecomones. VI. Behavior-active chemical signals from the urine of the ferret (Mustela putorius furo). Chemiker-Zeitung 110:185–195 (in German).Google Scholar
- Stoddart, M. 1980. The Ecology of Vertebrate Olfaction, Chapman & Hall Ltd, London.Google Scholar
- Zhang, J., Zhang, Z. and Wang, Z. 2001. Males’ olfactory discrimination of receptive state of female in rat-like hamsters (Cricetulus triton), pp. 385–390, in A. Marchlewska-Koj, J. J. Lepri, and D. Müller-Schwarze (eds.). Chemical Signals in Vertebrates 9, Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers, New York.Google Scholar