INDIVIDUAL DIFFERENCES IN BEHAVIOURAL REACTION TO A CHANGING ENVIRONMENT IN MICE AND RATS by R. F. BENUS, J. M. KOOLHAAS and G. A. VAN OORTMERSSEN (Department of Animal Physiology, University of Groningen, P.O. Box 14, 9750 AA Haren, The Netherlands) (With 5 Figures) (Acc. 15-IV-1986) Introduction Wild house mice (Mus musculus domesticus) live in groups with a specific social organization called 'demes'. A group occupies a restricted ter- ritorial area and within this area a number of males possesses subter- ritories which they defend against intruders, but also against the other males in the group. Most females, and sometimes a top-dominant male, have more or less free access to the whole area (CROWCROFT, 1966). As a consequence the social environment of a male mouse is highly variable: at one moment it has to act as a dominant and defend its own subter- ritory, and the other moment it has to be submissive against the top- dominant or against other males when they trespass in their subter- ritories. For successful functioning in such a system a highly developed socially adaptive ability is required (BARNETT, 1975; VAN ZEGEREN, 1980). How- ever, from many physiological studies it appears that an individual
Behaviour – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 1987
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