Journal of Ethology

, Volume 25, Issue 1, pp 83–86

Information transfer about food locations is not a benefit of group living in the solitary foraging striped mouse (Rhabdomys pumilio)

Short Communication

DOI: 10.1007/s10164-006-0205-7

Cite this article as:
Schradin, C. J Ethol (2007) 25: 83. doi:10.1007/s10164-006-0205-7


The benefits of group living have primarily been investigated in species which form permanent groups. There are, however, several species that forage alone but still form groups that share the same territory and nest. One of these group-living solitary foragers is the striped mouse (Rhabdomys pumilio) from the Succulent Karoo in South Africa. I performed field experiments on this species to investigate the hypothesis that mice benefit from group living by exchanging information in social groups about the location and availability of food sources. Presenting additional food sources in the field altered individual foraging decisions. A mouse that found food at one location visited it again the next day; other mice of the same group did not arrive, however. Establishment of permanent feeding stations for 1 week affected individual foraging even 1 week after termination of feeding, a result demonstrating the strong effect trapping can have on the behaviour of study species. Results from this study suggest that information transfer about good food sources was of little importance in the evolution of group living in the striped mouse.


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Copyright information

© Japan Ethological Society and Springer-Verlag 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Animal, Plant and Environmental SciencesUniversity of the WitwatersrandWitsSouth Africa
  2. 2.Department of Animal Behavior, Zoological InstituteUniversity of ZurichZurichSwitzerland