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Title: Investigations into the agonistic behaviour, territoriality and olfactory communication of the Mongolian gerbil (Meriones unguiculatus)
Author: Donegan, C. J.
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 1978
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The problems of defining territoriality and the functions of scent-parking were reviewed in mammals with particular reference to the Mongolian gerbil and the suggested territorial function of scent-marking. It was concluded, on the evidence presented to date, that it was unlikely that this gerbil displayed territorial behaviour in the strict sense of defending an exclusive area. It was also clear that there was insufficient evidence to associate scent-marking behaviour, in mammals in general and specifically in the gerbil, with the defence of a territory and that this behaviour could serve other functions. Experiments were then reported which investigated the links between the agonistic behaviour, territoriality and scent-marking in the gerbil. An ethogram of its agonistic behaviour, derived from laboratory experiments under a number of different conditions, was presented and the possible functions of the behavioural acts and postures observed were discussed. No evidence was found that pairs of gerbils would defend an exclusive territory under laboratory conditions and, although there was evidence of relative exclusivity of use of a home area, it was suggested that this was maintained by mutual avoidance. The rote of the scent-marking behaviour was discussed and experimental evidence presented which suggested that it could assist in the spacing of individuaLs in a natural population as a consequence of learning by association with the aversive stimuli of aggressive sngouqters with conspecifics.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available