, Volume 26, Issue 3, pp 339-345
Date: 06 Nov 2007

Do house mice use UV cues when foraging?

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Abstract

Research on the behavioural ecology of ultraviolet (UV-A, wavelengths of 320–400 nm, hereafter: UV) sensitivity in terrestrial vertebrates has mainly focused on sexual signalling and foraging in birds and reptiles, whereas the fact that some rodents are also sensitive to UV light has been somewhat ignored. Here, we present the results of two behavioural experiments, which tested whether rodents use UV cues in foraging. In the first experiment we asked whether the colour contrast in the UV waveband is used as a foraging cue. House mice were offered UV-reflecting and UV-absorbing artificial food items in two different illuminations where UV light was either present or absent. The food items were offered to two groups of mice, one group on a UV-reflecting and the other on a UV-absorbing background. The second experiment investigated more specifically whether UV cues are especially important in dawn and dusk when short wavelengths are high in the proportion of available light. House mice showed no preference between the food items regardless of illumination or background. Therefore, our results indicate that house mice do not use UV cues in foraging.