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Stable individual differences in separation calls during early development in cats and mice

Abstract : Background: The development of ethologically meaningful test paradigms in young animals is an essential step in the study of the ontogeny of animal personality. Here we explore the possibility to integrate offspring separation (distress) calls into the study of consistent individual differences in behaviour in two species of mammals, the domestic cat (Felis silvestris catus) and the mound-building mouse (Mus spicilegus). Such vocal responses in young mammals are a potentially useful test option as they represent an important element of mother-offspring communication with strong implications for offspring survival. In addition, the neural control of vocalisation is closely associated with emotional state. esults: We found marked similarities in the pattern of individual responses of the young of both species to separation from their mother and littermates. In the domestic cat as well as in the mound-building mouse, individual differences in the frequency of calls and to a lesser extent in locomotor activity were repeatable across age, indicating the existence of personality types. Such consistencies across age were also apparent when only considering relative individual differences among litter siblings. In both species, however, individual patterns of vocalisation and locomotor activity were unrelated. This suggests that these two forms of behavioural responses to isolation represent different domains of personality, presumably based on different underlying neurophysiological mechanisms. onclusions: Brief separation experiments in young mammals, and particularly the measurement of separation calls, provide a promising approach to study the ontogeny of personality traits. Future long-term studies are needed to investigate the association of these traits with biologically meaningful and potentially repeatable elements of behaviour during later life.
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Soumis le : samedi 29 juin 2019 - 20:35:04
Dernière modification le : lundi 8 août 2022 - 17:38:05


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Robyn Hudson, Marylin Rangassamy, Amor Saldaña, Oxána Bánszegi, Heiko G. Rödel. Stable individual differences in separation calls during early development in cats and mice. Frontiers in Zoology, BioMed Central, 2015, 12 (Suppl 1), pp.S12. ⟨10.1186/1742-9994-12-S1-S12⟩. ⟨hal-02168917⟩



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