Acta Theriologica

, Volume 47, Issue 2, pp 163–173 | Cite as

Levels of social tolerance between snow volesChionomys nivalis during over-wintering periods

  • Juan J. Luque-Larena
  • Pilar LópezEmail author
  • Joaquim Gosálbez


We examined winter social behaviour of the snow voleChionomys nivalis Martins, 1842, a rock-dwelling microtine found principally in high-mountain biotopes. We conducted dyadic encounters among wild-caughtC. nivalis to determine patterns of intraspecific tolerance and the degree of aggressiveness between and within sexes during wintering periods. Our data show a high frequency of agonistic behaviours in all social encounters. Male pairs spent less time being aggressive than female pairs but more time in investigative behaviours. In contrast, the intensity of aggression displayed during interactions was significantly higher in male-male encounters than in female-female encounters, with an intermediate level of aggression in male-female encounters. The low degree of social tolerance found seems to be in agreement with the available data on the social organization of this species and further suggests that individuals may not spatially associate during over-wintering periods. Although both males and females were socially intolerant, the different patterns observed between the sexes may underlie different strategies.

Key words

Chionomys nivalis social tolerance over-wintering periods 


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Copyright information

© Mammal Research Institute, Bialowieza, Poland 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Juan J. Luque-Larena
    • 1
  • Pilar López
    • 2
    Email author
  • Joaquim Gosálbez
    • 1
  1. 1.Departament de Biologia AnimalUniversitat de BarcelonaBarcelonaSpain
  2. 2.Departamento de Ecología EvolutivaMuseo Nacional de Ciencias NaturalesMadridSpain

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