SCHLEICH Cristian Eric
Short-term effects of an acute exposure to predatory cues on the
MASTRANGELO, M. ; SCHLEICH, C.E.; ZENUTO, R.R.
Año: 2009 vol. 77 p. 685 - 685
Spatial memory is important for animals to achieve successful foraging, reproduction, territorial defenceand predator avoidance in structurally complex habitats. This cognitive function has been shown to beaffected under stress conditions in surface-dwelling rodents. Here we used the Talas tuco-tuco, Ctenomystalarum, a subterranean rodent that inhabits complex burrow systems, as a study model. This species has a highly developed spatial ability and individuals are regularly exposed to predatory stress while foragingon the surface. We examined the consequences of a single and brief exposure to predatory cues on thespatial working and reference memory performance. We trained wild-caught individuals (32 males, 36females) in a ix-arm radial maze (spatial working memory task) or a longitudinal maze (spatial referencememory task). Once the animals reached a memory performance criterion, they were exposed toa direct predatory cue (immobilization), an indirect predatory cue (cat urine odour) or both cuescombined, and their memory performance was evaluated. Exposure to direct and combined predatorycues impaired spatial reference memory, increasing both the latency to achieve the goal and the numberof errors during the test. Combined presentation of both predatory cues also negatively affected spatialworking memory, but only for ltency to achieve the goal. Our results suggest that use of spatial workingmemory during a predatory attack on the surface allows C. talarum to relocate burrow entries rapidly and hence increases survival probabilities.