Foraging Behavior and Microhabitat Use by Spiny Mice, Acomys cahirinus and A. russatus, in the Presence of Blanford's Fox (Vulpes cana) Odor
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- Jones, M. & Dayan, T. J Chem Ecol (2000) 26: 455. doi:10.1023/A:1005417707588
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We investigated the responses of common and golden spiny mice (Acomys cahirinus and A. russatus, respectively) to the fecal odor of Blanford's fox (Vulpes cana), a predator of Acomys, which overlaps in habitat use with the mice. Neither species of mouse showed a significant response to the presence of fox odor compared with the presence of the fecal odor of a local herbivore (Nubian ibex, Capra ibex nubia). One explanation is that the impact of predation from V. cana may be sufficiently low that the cost of avoidance, in terms of missed feeding opportunities, conveys little selective advantage. Alternatively, fecal odor may not provide a focused cue of immediate danger for spiny mice. The diurnal A. russatus showed a stronger (near significant) response than the nocturnal A. cahirinus to fecal odor of this nocturnal predator. This may be a legacy of the underlying nocturnal activity rhythm of A. russatus or may indicate a generally more cautious response to predator odors, as A. russatus has a much stronger preference for sheltered microhabitats than A. cahirinus.