Rodents, a globally distributed and diverse taxonomic group, have been the subjects of countless studies emulating risky situations. In controlled laboratory experiments the majority of focus has been on captive-bred rodents, whereas far less attention has been paid to their wild counterparts. Understanding how wild species respond to novel situations with associated risk can provide valuable information on their adaptive capacity and behavioral repertoires, especially in the face of continual human development. In this comparative study, we examined multiple behavioral responses of three native rodent species Mus caroli, Apodemus agrarius, Rattus losea, and one invasive, Rattus exulans, exposed to an unfamiliar microenvironment and novel cue from an allopatric predator, the leopard cat (Prionailurus bengalensis). All animals were captured and tested in a laboratory setting in Hualien County, Eastern Taiwan. Behavioral responses to a novel situation differed between species following the predictions of the pace-of-life syndrome (POLS); smaller species investing more time in non-defensive behaviors compared to the larger species. Leopard cat cues did not elicit antipredator behaviors, but rather, rodents were found to have opposing responses with increased non-defensive behaviors, specifically foraging efforts. Our results suggest that wild populations of rodents in Eastern Taiwan may be naive to leopard cats. Additionally, the rodents in our study demonstrated habituation to the microenvironment, indicating they possess adaptive capacity.
|Effective start/end date
|2018/08/01 → 2019/10/31
- predation risk
- leopard cat
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