SCHLEICH Cristian Eric
Testing detection and discrimination of vegetation chemical cues in the subterranean rodent Ctenomys talarum
SCHLEICH, C.E.,; ZENUTO, R.R.
ETHOLOGY ECOLOGY & EVOLUTION
UNIVERSITA DEGLI STUDI DI FIRENZE
Año: 2010 vol. 22 p. 257 - 257
Previous studies on the subterranean rodent Ctenomys talarum (tuco-tuco) have shown that this species has the ability to use olfaction to orient their diggingwhile foraging. As a continuation of these works, we assess whether direct contactwith vegetation chemical signals is required for food odor recognition, and whetherthis subterranean rodent is also able to discriminate plants of different nutritionalquality by the chemical signals released by them into the soil. First, we test animalresponses to plant extracts and controls (water) covered with a wire mesh or withoutit. Also, we assess individual digging response in an artificial Y-maze whose armswere filled with soil in which plants of different nutritional quality have been grown.The results of this study suggest that (i) volatile chemical cues allow food odorrecognition and direct contact with the odor source does not enhance such recognitionin C. talarum, and (ii) olfaction could play a key role in the finding of food patches, allowing individuals to direct their excavation towards plant species of highnutritional qualitywere filled with soil in which plants of different nutritional quality have been grown.