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Reference: Pavel Stopka and David W Macdonald, (2003). Way-marking behaviour: an aid to spatial navigation in the wood mouse (Apodemus sylvaticus). BMC Ecology, 3, Article: 3.Citable link to this page:

 

Way-marking behaviour: an aid to spatial navigation in the wood mouse (Apodemus sylvaticus)

Abstract: Background: During their movements in the wild, wood mice (Apodemus sylvaticus) distribute small objects, such as leaves or twigs, which are often visually conspicuous. Our experiments demonstrate that these marks serve as points of reference during exploration. Way-marking, as we call it, may diminish the likelihood of losing an interesting location, perhaps following disturbance by, for example, a predator or conspecific. Way-marks, being readily portable, may be a less confusing method of marking ephemeral sites than scent marks. They may also be a safer option for local navigation insofar as scent marks can easily be detected by a predator.Results: In an experiment, conspicuous natural candidate way-marks were removed from a simple arena and wood mice were given white plastic discs instead. The wood mice picked up these discs and re-distributed them about their arena; as the mice moved, they repeatedly re-positioned the discs and usually spent a considerable time near recently repositioned discs. Analysis revealed a statistically significant association between the location of places in which the mice had positioned way-marks and the subsequent pattern of their movements. In a separate analysis, based on the context in which each behaviour occurred, we used the components and sequences of wood mouse behaviour to deduce the motivation behind each activity. One set of behaviour patterns, the elements of which were closely linked by the high transition probabilities amongst them, were interpreted as linked elements of exploration; whenever the mice transported a disc it was in association with these exploratory behaviours. This evidence that transporting discs is set in the motivational context of exploratory behaviour supports the conclusion that way-marking is part of the wood mouse's system of spatial orientation.Conclusion: We conclude that way-marking – a behaviour not previously described in mammals other than humans – serves solely as an aid to spatial navigation during exploration.

Publication status:PublishedPeer Review status:Peer reviewedVersion:Publisher's versionNotes:Citation: Stopka, P. & Macdonald, D. W. (2003). 'Way-marking behaviour: an aid to spatial navigation in the wood mouse (Apodemus sylvaticus)', BMC Ecology, 3:3. [This article is available from: http://www.biomedcentral.com/1472-6785/3/3]. © 2003 Stopka and Macdonald; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article: verbatim copying and redistribution of this article are permitted in all media for any purpose, provided this notice is preserved along with the article's original URL.

Bibliographic Details

Publisher: BioMed Central

Publisher Website: http://www.biomedcentral.com

Host: BMC Ecologysee more from them

Publication Website: http://www.biomedcentral.com/1472-6785/3/3

Issue Date: 2003-April

Copyright Date: 2003

pages:Article: 3Identifiers

Doi: https://doi.org/10.1186/1472-6785-3-3

Issn: 1472-6785

Urn: uuid:f6fc8d3b-a3e9-4c16-8c07-b0d9211e62f1 Item Description

Type: Article: post-print;

Language: en

Version: Publisher's versionKeywords: navigation mouseSubjects: Ecology (zoology) Behaviour (zoology) Zoological sciences Tiny URL: ora:2253

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Author: Pavel Stopka - institutionUniversity of Oxford, Charles University Prague facultyMathematical,Physical and Life Sciences Division

Source: https://ora.ox.ac.uk/objects/uuid:f6fc8d3b-a3e9-4c16-8c07-b0d9211e62f1



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