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Development and diversity of social structure in male mice

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Under laboratory conditions, male mice (Mus domesticus) began to develop a hierarchical structure at 6 weeks of age. The social structures of males in groups of 2 or 3 generally stabilized at ages between 5 and 13 weeks. The main structure of 3-male groups at 12 weeks of age was domination by a single male, although colonies where 2 or 3 adult males fought each other amounted to 26%. When abult male mice encountered a strange male and they interacted sufficiently, a despotic dominance was the most common structure. However, in 26% of encounters, the males fought each other continuously and neither became subordinate. It generally required 4 rounds of 20-min encounters to establish such a social structure.

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Hayashi, S. Development and diversity of social structure in male mice. J. Ethol. 11, 77–82 (1993).

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